Hungary: thousands take to the streets for the Pride March

Last year, a text was adopted in the country prohibiting the “representation or promotion” of homosexuality and sex change among minors.

Several thousand Hungarians marched this Saturday in Budapest to defend the rights of LGBT+ people, a year after the passage of a law deemed discriminatory. Giant hearts, flags and umbrellas in rainbow colors, this event is legally held along the Danube in the scorching heat.

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Participants, including foreign diplomats, condemned a text adopted in the summer of 2021 prohibiting the “representation or promotion” of homosexuality and sex change among minors.

“It is a tool to divide people and turn them against each other,” said Armin, who declined to give his last name. “To be honest, the situation is deplorable,” said Pal Vas, an 18-year-old student who will be leaving Hungary in September to study.

“We are a backward society”

“I’m lucky to have open family and friends, but I know so many LGBT+ people are forced to go into hiding,” said the young man, who recounted being recently insulted on the street. “Just because he’s wearing a pink shirt.”

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Annamaria Nemet, a 54-year-old merchant, came in solidarity with her son. “I cannot accept the fact that he is considered a second-class citizen in his own country,” he said. “We are a backward society.”

On a bridge in the city, protesters have unfurled a banner confusing homosexuality and pedophilia, as the law.

“Leave our kids alone”

The Hungarian law, originally meant to combat the law, sparked protests in Europe last year: Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke of “shame”. In the process, the European executive has launched a violation process against Hungary, before reaching the EU Courts in mid-July.

Nationalist and ultra-conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose country has been targeted by Brussels for its attacks on the rule of law, ensured that the law is not homophobic and aims to “protect children’s rights”.

This Saturday, in a speech in Romania, he reaffirmed the government’s position: “Father is a man, mother is a woman, leave our children alone,” he insisted, rejecting “Western nonsense” on this issue.

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