5 things that need to happen in the gay scene in Budapest this year

If the gay scene in Budapest could make some resolutions for 2019, what would they be? Here are some ideas.

Locals feeling safe to show their love

One of the things that keeps surprising me while dating Hungarian men is how locals are still very afraid of public demonstrations of affection, regardless of them being in or out of the closet as this has happened even with openly gay guys.

Naturally, I am not talking about eating each other’s face on the metro because, let’s be honest, that is definitely a big NO, even for straight couples… there is a times and place for such things, and the street is definitely not the place to get frisky. But I am talking about more subtle and casual things like greeting your boyfriend with a kiss on the lips, or holding hands in a restaurant during your date. Little things that are completely normal for couples to do.

Let’s be brave, people! I understand being afraid of unapproving glances and comments, but in my personal experience, Budapest is a very safe place to walk hand in hand along the Danube, or hold your girlfriend in a warm hug while waiting for the tram to arrive on a cold winter night.

One extra thing: remember that we make the new normal. Let’s make LGBT affection less rare, people need to get used to it anyway… it’s 2019.

Grindr going Kindr

Two facts we all know about Grindr: 1. Everyone has a love-hate relationship with it. 2. Grindr is a very rude universe. These are facts that even Grindr is aware of, which motivated them to create their 2018 Kindr campaign (https://www.kindr.grindr.com/) to make Grindr a kinder place and tear down the hate, femophobia and general hostile environment that Grindr can create in many different cities. The problem is not only the tons of fake accounts, and the harassing messages, but the exaggerated negative reactions when someone simply shows no interest or rejects a date invitation.

Guys, the equation isn’t that difficult. Rude replies, hostile attitude as a payback for being rejected, and shaming others for having different preferences or kinks won’t ever result in anything else other than embarrassing yourselves. Who knows? Perhaps you did not get a date but if you are kind, you could be meeting a new friend. Also, Grindr is a great place for networking, even business!

While I am aware this is a problem that is not exclusive to Budapest, it is indeed something to work on here and that is why I added it to this list.

Supporting new venues in the local scene

2018 was a great year for gay nightlife in Budapest! Tütü is back, some new resident parties started and joined the classics like Vibe or Garcons, and we even got Phoenix (www.phoenixbar.hu), a new great bar to hang out with our friends while drinking some very tasty cocktails.

What is our job now? To support them! Go, try them out, invite your friends and spread the word. The scene is growing in our city and it is up to us what will happen with these businesses trying to offer new alternatives for us.

Attending Budapest Pride

Budapest Pride is reaching a larger crowd every year and I am hoping that it will not change any time soon. It really surprises me how sometimes I meet locals who say they have never been to the gay pride in Budapest. My question is: why not?

Budapest Pride is a very fun event that, despite not being as big as it is in many European capitals, it fulfills the greater purpose of providing a space for everyone to express themselves and it still has that social purpose that started the Pride movement in the first place; to ask for acceptance and tolerance, which still have a long way to go in Budapest and Hungary in general.

So come join us this year! Bring your favorite costume, make a theme with your friends, wear whatever you want, dance, have fun… anything goes! This is the day when you can go out to the streets and say “This is me!”, supported by thousands of people like you.

Broadening queer culture

When it comes to nightlife, gay life in Budapest is practically covered, as mentioned before. Now it is time to explore new areas: theater, music, fashion, arts and beyond.

I personally dislike when people compare Budapest to other cities, because their context is entirely different and it is unfair to judge Budapest by standards that are quite easy to fulfill for other cities. Regarding this matter I would like to invite everyone to look at examples like Barcelona or Berlin – cities where queer culture is not a matter of the party scene but more about a whole segment of society getting involved in various areas and actively creating projects related to the LGBT community.

Budapest is a city with so much potential, which has been becoming more and more evident every year. All we have to do is make sure that 2019 helps us grow as a community and helps us build on each other, in order to keep changing this city into a great place for LGBT people to live.

Germán Henao