Hungary’s LGBTQ community: ‘We are afraid of losing everything’

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7/23/21

Over the past months, Boldizsar Nagy has had to grapple with things he never expected. He was never anyone “special,” the journalist and children’s book editor said — certainly not a household name, as he is today. When he and his team published a fairy tale book titled Meseorszag mindenkie, or Wonderland Belongs to Everyone, in 2020, he expected no more than a few reviews in the papers. He was wrong: A right-wing politician shredded the book live on camera because it included gay men and lesbians, transgender people and Roma. Hungary’s chancellery minister slammed the book as “homosexual propaganda.” Nagy still receives daily death threats on social media. He is gay. He says he looks over his shoulder when he goes out, especially at night. He no longer feels safe. “This is my new reality,” he told DW. With a shy gesture, he points out his ring. He and his partner have been in a registered civil partnership for five years. They want to adopt a child, but the authorities have kept putting obstacles in their way. For this reason they had already decided to leave the country, Nagy says, declining to add where they plan to go. Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing nationalist government has been toughening its stance on the LGBTQ community for quite some time. In May 2020, lawmakers passed a law banning trans people from changing their gender, and, in December, they enacted a constitutional amendment stipulating that “the mother is a woman, the father is a man.” Recent legislation also makes it virtually impossible for same-sex couples to adopt children. This June, parliament passed a purported child protection act that prohibits the “portrayal and promotion” of homosexuality and sex to minors in general. Faced with ongoing outrage and widespread criticism, Orban announced on Wednesday that he will hold a referendum on the law, all the while urging the population to support it.

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