Hungary lawmakers adopt anti-paedophile law hijacked to be anti-LGBTQ legislation

Hungarian MPs have on Tuesday adopted legislation that experts say will further marginalise, stigmatise and scapegoat LGBTQI people. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party are gearing up for the 2022 election, and critics say LGBTQI people are the new migrants in the campaign. Thousands protested outside Parliament in Budapest on Monday against the law amendment that bans discussions of homosexuality or gender change in schools, locking kids in the closet, instead of giving them opportunity to come out.

LGBTQ people are the new migrants

Orbán’s government, citing the importance of saving the country’s ‘Christian culture’ has already redefined marriage in the constitution as the union between one man and one woman, amended laws to make gay adoption practically impossible, outlawed legal status for transgender people, including those who had already made the switch. (The latter retroactive legislation was deemed unconstitutional by the constitutional court, though.)

Christian culture and the Hungarian way of life previously had to be ‘protected’ from migrants, a theme Orbán used successfully before to win elections, but now that the coronavirus pandemic ‘solved’ this problem, it’s time to make voters fear and hate someone else.

Protecting children - From what exactly?

Who in their right mind would not want to protect children? They need to be protected from the sun (harmful UV radiation), too much sugar (bad teeth, obesity), tics, measles, falling down the stairs, digesting pebbles and poop, and countless other things. Who in their right mind would not want to protect children from abuse, paedophiles, predators of the worst kind, scum of the earth?

The ruling coalition of Fidesz and the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP), with the support of far-right nationalist party Jobbik, have just passed amendments to existing legislation (with 157 votes in favour and 1 against) that aim to tighten sanctions against paedophiles. So, what’s wrong with that?

Well, for starters, it was a despicable trap set by Fidesz for opposition parties ahead of the 2022 election. If opposition parties vote against the proposal, the official narrative will be that they support paedophiles. If they support it, their voters will frown upon them for not standing up for LGBTQ rights. If we lived in the Star Wars universe instead of this sad reality, it would have been a prefect moment for Admiral Ackbar to cry his famous line.

Apparently, children also need to be protected from teachers, rights groups, movies, lectures, theatre plays and books that show the existence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, non-binary, or genderfluid people. People that do not necessarily feel comfortable in a romantic/sexual/physical/spiritual relationship with members of the opposite sex. And that’s a drastic simplification of the characteristics of the rainbow of people on this spectrum.

The new legislationrequires that all media content that “propagates homosexuality or portrays it” shall not be shown to children under 18, and commercials that show “diversion from one’s biological sex, change of gender, propagates or portrays homosexuality” shall not be made accessible to under-18s.

The bill also requires that TV and radio commercials that show “diversion from one’s biological sex, change of gender, propagates or portrays homosexuality” may only be shown between 10pm and 5am. Violators of this regulation could be fined, or have their broadcasting suspended.

The proposal also requires that human rights education courses in schools on ”sexual orientation”may only be held if they respect Hungary’s “constitutional identity” and its Christian culture and as long as they do not propagate consensual same-sex conduct or the affirming of one’s gender.

Paedophilia vs. LGBTQ

Fidesz bundled together laws that strictly penalise paedophilia and those that ban the discussion about LGBTQ issues, while describing the legislation as an effort to protect children from paedophilia.

Dunja Mijatovic, the commissioner for human rights at the Council of Europe, called the argument "misleading and false " and urged Hungarian lawmakers to reject the bills.

“The proposed legislative amendments run counter to international and European human rights standards. It is misleading and false to claim that they are being introduced to protect children,” she said in a statement on Monday.

The Hungarian amendments would outlaw any depiction or discussion of different gender identity and sexual orientation in public, including in schools and the media.

Some human rights groups have compared the planned ban to a discriminatory 2013 Russian law banning so-called "gay propaganda,” widely viewed as a tool of discrimination.

“I urge you to remain vigilant against such initiatives to push through measures that limit human rights or stigmatise ... some members of society,” Mijatovic said.

Mijatovic said such legislation reinforces prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Works of art to be avoided if you don't want to turn into a raging homosexual

La Cage aux Folles (or The Birdcage) have probably made countless of innocent and heterosexual boys gay. If you’re a heterosexual girl, beware of Boys Don’t Cry, you’ll definitely become a transgender person. Brokeback Mountain? Put it on your blacklist. Call Me by Your Name? Ditto. Milk? Mos def. Philadelphia? Right. Jessica Jones? Maybe. Lesbian scenes were already edited out by Petőfi TV in April, so try that version.

Don’t learn anything about Sappho or Catullus. Do not read Oscar Wilde who kept his homosexuality a secret, and even married and had two sons. Do you like poetry? Well, avoid Walt Whitman who was believed to have been gay or bisexual. Fancy stylish clothing? Forget about Dolce & Gabbana. Domenico and Stefano were romantically involved for over two decades. Okay, how about Giorgio Armani then? Nope, bisexual. Reading is dangerous territory too, you never know which writer or poet will turn your kid into raging homosexual. Beware of the works of Marcel Proust, Truman Capote, Emily Dickinson, Federico García Lorca, Thomas Mann… Oh, and don’t listen to music, either, it’s a festering pond of gay or bisexual people, like Freddy Mercury, Elton John, George Michael, Sia, LP.

Sadly, Hungarian children should not be allowed to sing the national anthem (Himnusz) either for it was written by Ferenc Kölcsey, who wrote love letters: to his dormitory roommate Ferenc Kállay and later to Pál Szemere, although this kind of affection was not reciprocated.

Poet and writer György Faludy should also be banished from literature textbooks, he was not only one of the greatest Hungarian poets of the 20th century, he sadly loved not just women but men too. We have gay and lesbian poets (János Pilinkszky), actors (László Márkus), actresses (Hilda Gobbi), conductors (János Ferencsik), and painters (László Mednyánszky).

The list goes on, but frankly, who cares? That’s the whole point. What does it matter if anyone likes men or women? Policymakers should ask themselves: How does it affect my life if John lives/has sex with Jack or Jill? Or both.

Why should these people be stigmatised, marginalised, and blamed for anything? How exactly are they different from any of the lawmakers in Parliament? Why should not they have the same rights as you or me? Why do they need to be portrayed as worse or inferior? Haven’t we learned anything from history? Have lawmakers tried to replace the acronym LGBTQ with ‘Jew’, ‘gypsy’, ‘black’, ‘Muslim’ or ‘white heterosexual’ and see if they like the new law then?

Who became Jewish by watching Fiddler on the Roof? Who turned into a hobbit by reading The Lord of the Rings? Please, show me a kid who read a Harry Potter book and suddenly became a wizard! Has any man/boy ever developed attraction for his fellow men by listening to Bohemian Rhapsody, Your Song, or Last Christmas?

Who really thinks that showing children how amazingly colourful people are will turn them into anything other than tolerant?

Why do those that created and voted in favour of this vile and disgraceful legislation think that hiding the truth, i.e. the existence of LGBTQ people from anyone under the age of 18 can be the solution to anything? When toddlers cover their eyes and think that they cannot be seen, it's adorable. When grown men and women in Parliament do the same, it's pathetic. And if they want the rest of the population to follow suit, it's deplorable and extremely harmful.

Cover photo: Getty Images

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