Recently, Hungary is reportedly pushing a law that will outlaw the sharing of LGBTQ+ content to minors. This law is a result of the 2013 “propaganda” ban initiated by Russia.
What Is the Proposal From the Hungary National Assembly?
The proposal was introduced at Hungary’s National Assembly. It would mandate that youth and children under 18 years of age be forbidden from seeking out any materials with LGBTQ+ content. The law would reportedly include everything, whether it’s pornography, advertisements, literature, or educational content.
The legislation claimed it wants to reduce pedophilia while also allowing the government to choose the organizations that can present sexual education workshops in schools.
Related: LGBTQ+ History and Why It Matters
What Are Advocacy Groups Saying About the Bill?
The parliamentary bill has received much critique from Human rights organizations. An LGBTQ+ community in Hungary called The Háttér Society stated that the legislation “would seriously curb freedom of speech and children’s rights.”
Spokesperson Luca Dudits said the following about the law:
“This step endangers the mental health of LGBTQI youth by making it harder for them to receive preventive education and affirmative support in due time. They have a right to an education which helps them develop into healthy, fully rounded people, which means they should receive relevant and comprehensive information about sexuality and family life. We call on the government to withdraw the amendment, and the opposition not to vote on the bill in this form.”
Others compared the law to Russia’s controversial ban on minors on materials that showed “nontraditional sexual relationships.”
Amnesty International Hungary Executive Director David Vig said to the Associated Press that this proposal “will further stigmatize LGBTI people, exposing them to greater discrimination in what is already a hostile environment.”
What Happened With Russia’s “Propaganda” Law Eight Years Ago?
When Russia’s “propaganda” law passed, it erased nearly all forms of public LGBTQ+ life. This has resulted in Pride events being banned by city governments, and activists have experienced violence from police and been arrested. Something as simple as posting a pro-LGBTQ+ news article on social media could result in a fine.
There have also been more attacks on LGBTQ+ Russians since the law has been put into place. In 2017, Reuters found that anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes had doubled.
Advocacy groups are concerned that Hungary’s law may have similar consequences. In a 2017 report from The Háttér Society, it was discovered more than half of queer youth and 37% of gender-expansive youth had been targeted at their schools because of their identities. Approximately 13% and 10% of these people being surveyed had experienced violence due to their LGBTQ+ gender identity or sexual orientation.
Dudits also mentioned that the passing of this bill would “abandon” LGBTQ+ youth who are vulnerable.
What Has the Crackdown on LGBTQ+ Content Looked Like so Far?
The publisher of the children’s book, Wonderland Is For Everyone was mandated to print warning labels on their book. It had to inform parents that the book featured “behavior inconsistent with traditional gender roles.” The book came under fire by the Fidesz Party, as it shows a wedding between two gay princes.
The Fidesz Party is the one initiating the propaganda law. The lawmakers also boycotted Coca-Cola when they ran a campaign that showed same-sex couples. The #LoveIsLove ads from this campaign resulted in a fine.
Unfortunately, with the Fidesz Party controlling a parliamentary majority, the propaganda ban will likely pass.
What Other LGBTQ+ Issues Have Been Happening in Hungary?
Hungary has also made LGBTQ+ news recently since they voted to erase legal recognition for trans folks. Essentially, they are preventing trans people in Hungary from correcting the name issued on their birth certificates.
Last year, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government also prohibited same-sex adoptions and forbade transgender people from being able to amend their legal gender. However, the gender marker ban was partly overturned.
What Other Legal and Social Challenges Do People Face in Hungary?
As you could have guessed, LGBTQ+ people in Hungary face more legal and social challenges than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. However, same-sex couples in Hungary, are not eligible for the same legal rights. Same-sex marriage is still banned in Hungary.
What is public opinion like in Hungary on LGBTQ+ issues?
Polls that have gathered public opinion on same-sex marriage in Hungary have mixed results.
A Eurobarometer survey published in December 2006 revealed that only 18 percent of Hungarians surveyed in the study supported same-sex marriage, and only 13 percent supported a same-sex couple’s right to adopt. However, a poll conducted a year later showed that 30 percent of Hungarians supported same-sex marriage.
Pew Research Center
The Eurobarometer poll in 2015 determined that 39% of Hungarians supported same-sex marriage. Also, a more recent poll by the Pew Research Center in 2017 showed that 27% of Hungarians supported same-sex marriage, and 64% opposed it.
PlanetRomeo’s Gay Happiness Index
In 2015, the LGBTQ+ social network PlanetRomeo published its very first Gay Happiness Index (GHI). Gay men from more than 120 countries were polled about their feelings on society’s view on homosexuality, their experience of treatment from other people, and how much satisfaction they have with their lives. Hungary came in at 49th, with a GHI score of 47.
The results of a 2017 poll carried out by ILGA indicated that 64% of Hungarians were in agreement that gay, lesbian, and bisexual people should have the same rights as straight people. 15% of people disagreed with this statement. Also, 69% of surveyors agreed that LGBTQ+ folks should be protected from workplace discrimination. 13% of Hungarians, on the other hand, said that people in same-sex relationships should be criminally charged, with 64% in disagreement.
When asked about transgender people, 60% agreed that they should have equal rights, and 64% said they should be protected from employment discrimination. 48% were in agreement that they should be allowed to change their legal gender on documentation.