LGBT+ in Hungary

To talk about the current state of the sentiment towards LGBT people we need to separate the public’s opinion and the governmental approach to the topic.

It is safe to say the general public opinion has been shifting in recent years and going in a positive direction, with surveys on sexual diversity showing that 80% of LGBTQ members themselves felt like their acceptance has increased, 64% of Hungarians think that homosexuals deserve equal rights, and 58% find it compatible with their religion/culture.

In addition, the 2019 Budapest Pride was the most peaceful and unhindered one in recent years, keeping in mind that it was the first year where the participants marched without the security cordons that were normally placed along the road to keep nationalist radical activists away; and in spite of that there were no disruptions. Nevertheless, at one point along the route extra security was used downtown, where police with dogs stood between the marchers and the counterdemonstrators forming a barrier of about 30 meters.

These results come from a constant development that both Hungary and Budapest have been having in recent years, with the LGBT community gaining visibility and growing in every aspect including lifestyle, culture, business and tourism.

It is no surprise that, with the rise of LGBT visibility and acceptance, the Hungarian government has started to take small actions targeting the community like calling the Hungarian people to boycott Coca-Cola after running the first ever LGBT campaign in the country, and pulling out from the Eurovision Song Contest for being “too gay” for the government and public media bosses. The biggest anti LGBT measure recently was to  end legal gender recognition for transgender people.

Examples of this are when last year a screening of an LGBT anti bullying film was disrupted, or when 50 far-right radicals attacked Auróra, and NGO community where LGBTQ, roma, jewish, homeless, transparency, educational and environmental NGOs reside; and covered their building in neo-fascist slogans and burned the LGBT flag hanging out of the building, this being the only LGBT flag in the city that stands all year long.

On the contrary, during the 2020 Pride month, Gergely Karácsony, the Mayor of Budapest and member of the opposition party expressed his support towards the LGBT+ community together with several Mayors of different districts in Budapest, by placing rainbow flags out of the most important official offices in the city.

Current state of LGBT rights:

  • Status: Legal since 1961
  • Marriage: Constitutionally banned
  • Adoption: No joint adoption by same-sex couples. Individual LGBT people can adopt.
  • Gender identity: Gender change is legal with diagnosis, but there is no legal recognition of transgender people.
  • Recognition of relationships: Unregistered cohabitation since 1996, registered partnerships since 2009.
  • Discrimination: Sexual orientation and gender identity protections
  • Military: Gays, lesbians and bisexuals are allowed to serve