Elle Hungary puts gay dads on cover in powerful defiance of government’s anti-LGBTQ+ agenda

Two gay dads - Hungarian restaurateur Hubert Hlatky Schlichter and his neurosurgeon husband Laszlo Szegedi - kiss their baby daughter Hannabel on the head on the cover of Elle Hungary.

The Hungarian version of Elle magazine has put a pair of gay dads and their child on its front cover, in a defiant move amid the country’s worsening anti-LGBTQ+ equality record.

The couple, Hungarian restaurateur Hubert Hlatky Schlichter and his neurosurgeon husband Laszlo Szegedi, are pictured tenderly kissing their baby daughter Hannabel on the head.

Sharing the cover on Instagram yesterday, Elle Hungary declared its intention was to “contribute to the acceptance of rainbow families” and help the publication to “campaign all over the country for love and all forms of family”.

The post went on: “Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, caring and supportive environment and no one can prevent this based on their parents’ gender identity or sexual orientation.”

In the issue, the two fathers speak openly about the discrimination they’ve faced in Hungary, particularly as they welcomed their baby girl into the world.

The cover of Elle Hungary, which shows gay dads Hubert Hlatky Schlichter and his neurosurgeon husband Laszlo Szegedi kissing their baby daughter Hannabel on the head
The Hungarian goverment has launched legislative attacks on LGBTQ+ families in recent years. (Elle Hungary)

In 2010, Hungary voted in hard-line right-wing prime minister Viktor Orbán, co-founder and leader of the Fidesz party. In the 13 years since his election, he has enacted numerous policies aimed at curtailing LGBTQ+ equality.

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During his time in power, Orbán has amended the Hungarian constitution to define families as “based on marriage and the parent-child relation [whereby] the mother is a woman, the father a man”.

Same-sex marriage in the country is illegal, and a law passed in 2020 decrees that adoption is only allowed by couples who are married, effectively outlawing same-sex couples from adopting children.

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Earlier this year, Orbán attempted to introduce a chilling law that would have enabled citizens to report LGBTQ+ families to the authorities. The law was vetoed by the country’s president Katalin Novák, in what was considered an unusual rebuke from an otherwise staunch Orbán ally.

Orbán has also taken aim at the trans community. In 2020, the country banned transgender, non-binary and intersex people from legally changing their gender, effectively erasing them from existence

Prime minister Viktor Orbán stands in front of a blue background, in a suit and tie.
Prime minister Viktor Orbán has a poor record on LGBTQ+ rights. (Getty)

In 2021, the government passed a law banning LGBTQ+ topics from being discussed in schools or in the media, to prevent queer content from being accessed by minors.

Books that depict LGBTQ+ relationships are required to be wrapped in foil. In July, a bookshop was fined 12 million fornits (approximately £27,800 or $35,900) for not covering a copy of Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper series – something the author said made her sad and angry.

“Queer young people deserve to see themselves in literature. Queerness is not inappropriate for kids,” Oseman wrote at the time. “Sending love to everyone fighting this and supporting queer books.”

While a same-sex couple featured on a British or US-based magazine would seem innocuous, in Hungary, it marks a landmark step for positive queer representation in the media.

On Instagram, the magazine’s comment section has been flooded with people celebrating the cover.

“They are wonderful, and you are the same for showing it,” wrote Hungarian model Ági Pataki.

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Another person said: “Love, togetherness and happiness oozes from this photo. You are role models and I hope other similar couples draw strength in your lives.”

A third reader wrote: “My hope is strengthened that maybe many other children can still have a wonderful life with wonderful parents like them. Sincere, true love really conquers all, loving and being loved from your heart is what really matters.”

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