On the 15th of June 2021, Hungary’s Parliament voted to adopt legislation, originally referred to as the anti-pedophile act, aiming to protect children from sexual abuse and harassment.
However, at the very last minute, the governing populist party (Fidesz) added new sections to the bill; with a two-thirds parliamentary majority, it had no difficulty passing it. Regulations were added to both the child protection act and the commercial activity act, banning distribution of pornographic material and also all contents that deal with diverse gender identities, gender reassignment and homosexuality from being made available to anyone under the age of eighteen.
In addition, the act on media services and mass communication has also been amended: it will now be mandatory to classify all songs and programmes which are “likely to adversely affect” the physical, mental or moral development of minors, especially by “promoting” diverse gender identities, gender change and homosexuality, as the subject is “not recommended for people under the age of eighteen.” This also means a ban on these topics in non-commercial announcements and advertising for social purposes.
In this context, gender identity, gender change, and homosexuality are mentioned along the lines of pornography and violence. It is also scandalous that the bill merges pedophilia with being a member of the LGBTQI+ community.
The bill also modifies the public education act, stating that, for students, sessions on sexual culture, sex life, sexual orientation, and sexual development should not address gender diversity, gender reassignment, and sexual orientations other than heterosexual. Needless to say, this makes the necessary sexual education impossible. This part of the bill dramatically narrows the opportunities for NGOs which foster children’s rights, including the right to sexual health; only those organisations authorized by the state will have the right to conduct awareness-raising and sensitisation sessions even within the aforementioned narrow frameworks.
The goals are clear: to erase the LGBTQI+ community from the people’s (especially children’s) minds. The governing party doesn’t care about the young people who belong to this community, their mental health, and self-identity development.
Although the president of the Republic has already signed the bill, these government actions don’t mirror the public mood of Hungarian society, especially not young people’s. Before and after the parliamentary voting, thousands protested against the bill, among them many youth representatives. Thousands have changed their Facebook profile picture demonstrating their solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community. Writers, artists, and other celebrities, as well as media and other companies, declared that they are going to keep discussing the topic. Teachers also stated that they wouldn’t remain silent within the classroom’s walls.
What comes next? What can we do? On our part, we must continue with our project, finding ways to secure its legality.
Our project —All Inc!— has never been more important than it is today.
This post contributed by the Hungarian team of Erzsébet, Imre and Zoltan — köszönöm csapat; nem vagy egyedül.