Hungary has introduced a law that bans discussion of LGBTQ+ topics in schools, workplaces and the media.
The law was passed with an almost unanimous vote of 157-1 - the amendment attached to an anti-paedophilia law with Hungarian authorities managing to conflate the LGBTQ community with paedophilia itself.
The new legislation makes it illegal to teach or discuss gender identity, sexual orientation and the LGBTQ+ community in schools and LGBTQ+ content being published in media.
The problems this will cause for LGBTQ+ people in Hungary are endless. As well as not being able to openly be themselves, the evil link made to paedophilia tie will cause further mental health and self-worth problems in the community, particularly among the young.
The new legislation is being compared to Section 28, a law introduced in the UK by Thatcher under her Conservative Government in 1988 that banned the promotion of homosexuality, using similar methods of censorship in media and advertising. Thatcher’s view was poisonous: she did not believe ‘they’ (meaning the gay community) had ‘an inalienable right to be gay’.
The drama of Section 28 featured extensively in Ash's story in the rapturously received Channel 4 drama 'It's A Sin'.
When we think of Section 28, we shudder; knowing fully how unfairly the LGBTQ+ community were treated at the time and the marginalisation, discrimination, violence and harassment it triggered. There are people still paying the price for this draconian law decades later even though it was repealed by two acts in 2001 and 2003.
We can’t imagine something similar being introduced today with the progress made by many to help bring equality about for the community. We can only imagine the hardships that will be faced in a country where even discussing gender identity and sexual orientation is now illegal.
The European Commission is now apparently considering imposing financial punishment on Hungary in response to this latest development.