The Budapest Police Department has refused to grant permission for this year's Budapest Pride March. The march had been announced for July 7, 2012, with a route from City Park to Alkotmány Street along Andrássy Avenue, by the festival’s organizers, the Rainbow Mission Foundation. This is not the first time the police have tried to prevent the march, and this year they again justified their decision to restrict our freedom of assembly with the claim that it is impossible to redirect traffic to another route. With the help of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ), we are filing a petition for review of the ban. We look forward to the Budapest Metropolitan Court repealing the police’s decision, which is expected to be announced in the next few weeks.
The march is a part of the Budapest Pride Film and Cultural Festival, whose goal is to raise awareness about the discrimination and legal inequality faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people. The festival aims to build and strengthen the Hungarian LGBTQ community, address and involve heterosexual allies, and stand up against stereotypical and homophobic portrayals of our community.
Banning the march is one of the means used to silence the LGBTQ community. The last two years have seen democracy, human rights, and the rule of law threatened in Hungary, and through its actions, the government has infringed upon the rights of many groups. The Basic Law, passed in April 2011 and in effect since the beginning of this year, the “family protection” law voted on last December, and the Hungarian Society for the Science of the Family founded in February all severely violate the rights of LGBTQ people. Banning the Pride march would only exacerbate the social marginalization of this community.
One of the themes we are highlighting in this year’s festival (June 30 – July 8) is the diversity of the LGBTQ community in Hungary. Given that the community is often invisible, our diversity of identities and experiences often goes unrecognized even within the community. For example, bisexual, queer, and trans people frequently find themselves marginalized and their voices unheard. LGBTQ people who are members of other marginalized groups as well (disabled people, national, ethnic, and religious minorities, etc.) are hardly ever allowed the opportunity to express their full identities. Mainstream society’s view of the LGBTQ community is restricted to a very narrow segment of the group, and this picture is often based on explicitly homophobic and transphobic stereotypes.