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Thousands rally outside Hungary’s Parliament protesting anti-LGBTQ bills

A spokesperson at Human Rights Watch, said equating sexual and gender diversity with paedophilia hurt LGBTQ people and put them in danger.

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Hungarian Parliament (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

BUDAPEST – Over 5,000 people, LGBTQ activists and supporters along with human rights activists demonstrated in front of the Parliament in Budapest, angered by legislation banning any content portraying or promoting homosexuality or sex reassignment to anyone under 18. 

It is sponsored by Fidesz, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling conservative party and would essentially equate sexual and gender diversity people to paedophilia.

The legislation with its amendments is schedule for a vote Tuesday, June 15. The amendments would outlaw any depiction or discussion of different gender identity and sexual orientation in public, including in schools and the media. 

“These proposals, which have dark echoes of Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda law”, will further stigmatize LGBTI people, exposing them to greater discrimination in what is already a hostile environment,” David Vig, director of Hungary’s branch of Amnesty International told the crowd.

“We have a lot to do before tomorrow’s vote: We have to tell, we have to write to every member of Parliament, why this bill is anti-child, anti-family and anti-human,” he added.

Lydia Gall, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, said equating sexual and gender diversity with paedophilia hurt the dignity of LGBT people and risked putting them in danger.

Gall called the legislation “a cynical, distasteful and deliberate attempt by the Orban government to trample the rights of LGBT people and essentially make them invisible in Hungarian society.” 

“That this should happen just weeks after Hungary took over the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe shows how brazen Viktor Orban’s government has become in using hateful populism to target minorities. The EU and its member states must demand that the Hungarian authorities remove these amendments from the bill before it goes to vote on 15 June,” Amnesty’s Vig, said.

The amendments require 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 amendments also require 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.

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Eastern Europe

LGBTQ+ in Poland: I still can’t be myself – BBC News

Large parts of Poland were labelled “LGBT-free zones”, where regional governments declared they were against LGBT ideology

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Screenshot via BBC News

LONDON- Large parts of Poland were labelled “LGBT-free zones”, where regional governments, as well as smaller councils, declared they were against LGBT ideology or ideologies that “undermine” the family. Now, provinces have started to backtrack after the EU said it would freeze funds. But has anything really changed for LGBT people in those areas?

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Eastern Europe

Alleged leader of Bulgaria LGBTQ community center attack charged

Boyan Rasate is ultranationalist presidential candidate

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(Photo courtesy of the Bilitis Foundation)

SOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgarian authorities have charged an ultranationalist presidential candidate in connection with an attack against an LGBTQ community center.

Media reports indicate Boyan Rasate, who leads the Bulgarian National Union, has been charged with hooliganism and infliction of injury in connection with the Oct. 30 attack against Rainbow Hub, an LGBTQ community center in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia that the Bilitis and GLAS (Gays and Lesbians Accepted in Society) Foundations operate. Bulgarian authorities detained Rasate for 72 hours after they charged him in connection with the incident.

The Bilitis Foundation says Rasate led a group of “about 10 men and women” who stormed Rainbow Hub while a group of transgender people were meeting inside. The mob vandalized the community center and assaulted Bilitis Foundation Project Coordinator Gloriya Filipova.

U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria Herro Mustafa is among those who have publicly condemned the attack.

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Eastern Europe

Polish lawmakers advance bill to ban Pride marches

Activist describes vote as ‘very dark day’

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(Public domain photo)

WARSAW, Poland — Lawmakers in Poland on Friday voted to send a bill that would ban Pride marches and other pro-LGBTQ events to committee.

“(The) Polish ruling party voted in favor of further work on a bill with total ban in Pride parades and public gatherings that promote LGBT rights,” said Bart Staszewski, a Polish LGBTQ activist, in a tweet that specifically referenced President Andrzej Duda’s Law and Justice party. “Now the Parliament commission will check the legality of this bill. It is a very dark day for Polish democracy and LGBT people.”

OutRight Action International in a press release notes the measure states “any event which questions marriage as a relationship between a woman and a man or propagates the extension of marriage to persons of the same sex can not go ahead.” The Life and Family Foundation, which opposes LGBTQ rights and abortion, collected more than 140,000 signatures in support of the bill. 

“This is a very dark day in Poland, not only for LGBTIQ people, but for Polish society as a whole,” said acting OutRight Action International Executive Director Maria Sjödin. “Prides are a crucial element of the movement for LGBTIQ equality, and, moreover, they are an expression of the right to freedom of assembly and expression. As such, Prides serve as a litmus test—whether or not a state allows and protects a marginalized, often discriminated community to hold an event such as Pride, is indicative of the health of their democracy.”

“Poland is failing that test today,” added Sjödin.”We call on the relevant Parliamentary committee to reject the proposed bill in its entirety.”

Friday’s vote took place against the backdrop of increased tensions between Poland and the European Union over LGBTQ rights.

The European Commission in September threatened to withhold more than 126 million euros ($145.59 million) in funding from five provincial governments that have enacted so-called LGBTQ “free zones.” The Polish Constitutional Court on Oct. 7 ruled the country’s laws supersede EU statutes where they differ.

Duda ahead of his 2020 re-election said LGBTQ “ideology” is more harmful than communism. Duda has also described LGBTQ Poles as a “threat to the family” and claimed they “want to sexualize children.”

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