Orban’s tougher laws fuel taboos and fear among LGBT Hungarians

BUDAPEST, June 18 (Reuters) – Daniella Milla Tokodi says she finally feels free as she dances in spectacular costumes in a drag queen show at a Budapest bar popular with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and lesbian community. transgender (LGBT).

The 31-year-old Hungarian said she had known she was gay from childhood. After a final surgery in 2018 that turned her from man to woman, she said she burst into tears when she saw herself in the mirror and finally felt happy in her “soul and his body”.

“It was a relief … Since then, I have been able to look in people’s eyes. I can communicate with people, I feel whole.”

That sentiment is now overshadowed by concern over a series of laws passed by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban that critics say undermine LGBT + rights, the latest of this week banning “posting and the promotion ”of homosexuality and gender change among subcontractors. 18 years old, in schools and in the media. Read more

This follows another law last year banning gender reassignment in identity documents, which Daniella was able to do after starting her transition in 2014.

“I’m obviously concerned with this and how the next generation is going to grow up. It’s no coincidence that there are a lot of gay and transgender suicides, because if someone can’t thrive, than can he do? Should they be hiding? “said Daniella.

A survey of 2,000 people by HATTER, a Hungarian LGBT + group, showed that 42% thought about suicide while 30% had attempted it. Thoughts of suicide have occurred mostly in adolescents, around 64% of respondents, he said.

Orban defended the new legislation on Thursday, writing on its English-language website that it “does not conflict with lofty ideals or European laws. Hungary’s new law simply makes it clear that only parents can decide on it. sex education of their children “.

Critics say Orban, who faces elections next year, has become increasingly radical on social policy, targeting LGBTQ + people and immigrants, which has deeply divided Hungarians and turned the LGBT + community upside down.

“HUGE TABOO”

Orban’s Fidesz party, which promotes a Christian-conservative agenda, added the proposal banning school discussions on LGBT + issues to a separate, widely supported bill that strictly criminalizes pedophilia.

The move, which critics say wrongly links pedophilia with LGBT + issues, sparked a mass rally on Monday, as rights groups called on Fidesz to withdraw the bill and the European Commission opened an investigation into this matter.

The new law also establishes a list of organizations authorized to provide sex education in schools.

Drag queen “Elona Musk”, who did not want to use her real name, worked in a group of volunteers who visit schools to educate children about diversity.

Elona himself had a hard time in high school, feeling he had to hide that he was gay. He grew up in Romania where he said homosexuality was a “huge taboo”.

He moved to Hungary from Transylvania 10 years ago and in his day job he works for a multinational company. The new law scares him because he fears that he will not be able to continue his voluntary work.

“I think this is just a step and it will continue with new and new laws.”

Critics compared the new legislation to the 2013 Russian law that banned the dissemination of “propaganda about non-traditional sex” among young Russians.

It also affects the main media of the LGBT + community, Humen magazine and the online news portal.

Its editor, Zsolt Erdei, says it is still unclear whether they will be able to display their free print magazine in public places. The online version must be preceded by an 18-year warning.

Written by Krisztina Than; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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