On May 19, Hungary's parliament voted to stop intersex and transgender people from changing their gender on any legal documents. This move has officially banned people from changing gender as rights groups said that this move could further discriminate against the LGBTQ community in the country.
Banning transgender and intersex people
The Hungarian lawmakers voted with 134 votes who are in favor of banning gender change, 56 votes were against it and four abstained. The lawmakers wanted to define gender as the "sex at birth" and as registered on a birth certificate.
Krisztina Tamás-Sáróy, an Amnesty International researcher, said in a statement that the decision pushes the country backward and it prevents transgenders and intersex people in the country to exercise their rights. She added that the move may expose the community to further discrimination and it can deepen intolerance and the hostile environment that is already faced by the LGBT community.
Hatter Society, a Hungarian rights group, said that the law violated a fundamental right of the constitution and had been opposed by both the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and European Parliament. Numerous LGBT organizations are now requesting the law to be reviewed by the Constitutional Court.
The Constitutional Court decides on the constitutionality of acts of parliaments and it protects the democratic state through the rule of law. Hungary is a member of the EU, but Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been doing things his own way for years, passing laws that the leaders of the EU have warned will hurt the democracy of the country.
Despite the criticisms, the government defended the law and said that it does not prevent men and women in the country from living how they want to live their lives. The government also stated that the newly passed law does not prevent anyone from living according to their identity and exercising their rights.
LGBT rights in Hungary
In early May, Hungary dropped in the ranking of countries in Europe that are LGBT friendly because of the policies targeting that community. The co-chair of the ILGA-Europe executive board, Darienne Flemington, said that the proposed ban legally changing gender was just one of the alarming signs of how governments with authoritarian tendencies are confident enough to limit the rights of minorities and vulnerable groups.
Although Hungary recognizes same-sex couples and their legal union, the ruling of the Fidesz party and its leader is opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage.
In 2019, Coca-Cola was criticized by conservatives and politicians in Hungary after running ads that included same-sex couples holding bottles of Coke and kissing. One leading politician from the conservative party and media outlets called for boycotting Coke products and banning the campaign.
In 2018, the stage musical "Billy Elliot" was canceled by the Hungarian State Opera due to criticism by conservative media outlets. However, in 2017, a poll by the International LGBTI Association found that more than 60% of Hungarians are in favor of equal rights, and it should be given to everyone regardless of sexual orientation.