Call for LGBTQ organizations to call out Boris Johnson

Dear fellow LGBTQ rights advocates and allies!

Boris Johnson will be meeting tomorrow (May 28th, 2021) at Downing Street with Hungary’s homophobic autocratic Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán. We ask you to publicly call out Boris Johnson if he has brought up the oppression of Hungarian LGBTQ persons during their meeting and if not, ask him not to post celebratory tweets about Pride Month (beginning Tuesday 1 June) on his social media.

Viktor Orbán has been a leading figure in anti-LGBTQ hate-mongering and legislation in the Central Eastern European region. His Minister for Family Affairs, Katalin Novák has been cooperating with Russian fundamentalist think tanks, oligarchs, and US-based hate groups for more than 9 years. Viktor Orbán’s fight against Hungarian LGBTQ equality is a direct attack to de-stabilize Western-European democracies, rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of thec court and anti-discrimination institutions.

As a result of Viktor Orbán’s anti-LGBTQ politics, Hungarian LGBTQ persons live in constant fear and uncertainty, not knowing when they will be a target of the next hate-mongering attack and which of their rights will they be stripped away from.

  • In 2012 Viktor Orbán changed Hungary’s Constitution, adding a phrase that “marriage is a union between a man and a woman”, putting a constitutional ban on equal marriage.
  • In 2019 Viktor Orbán and his party, Fidesz, launced an anti-LGBTQ hate-mongering campaign: the Speaker of the Assembly compared adopting same-sex couples to pedophiles, conversion therapies were popularized on national television, and the Deputy Leader of the Fidesz Caucus boycotted Coca Cola for showcasing same-sex couples on a billboard and called the Parliament to ban the Budapest Pride March. In 2019 September Viktor Orbán publicly announced that he will find a way to ban gays and lesbians from adoption as single parents. It only took him a year to fulfill this threat.
  • In May 2020, during the first wave of COVID-19 when the whole society was in a crisis, Viktor Orbán completely banned legal gender recognition for transgender and intersex persons, ending a 20-year long legal practise and precedent. As a result, transgender and intersex persons now have more equal rights regarding legal gender recognition in Russia or Uzbekistan, than in Hungary.
  • In October 2020, a fairytale book was published showcasing different minorities: Jewish, Roma, disabled and poor characters, and one fairytale out of the 14 had a LGBTQ main character. After the leader of a far-right radical party (Mi Hazánk) publicly shredded the book, Orbán also came out against this fairytale book saying to “leave our children alone!”
  • In 2020 December, during the second wave of COVID-19 when the death rates were among the highest in the world and all protests were banned, Viktor Orbán put a de facto ban on single parent adoption for people who live in same-sex relationships, putting his own twisted ideology in front of the children’s best interest. Before this bill, child protection services made a case-by-case decision on who can become an adopting parent, conducting intensive psychological and environmental research about the applicants. Now the final decision was taken out of the professionals’ hands and was dedicated to Minister for Family Affairs, Katalin Novák, who has been collaborating with Russian and US-based right-wing oligarchs and anti-LGBTQ hate groups since she was appointed by Viktor Orbán in 2014.
  • Along with the adoption ban, Viktor Orbán changed the Constitution, to again add some anti-LGBTQ language. These changes seem to have no legal impact but create an even more hostile environment for LGBTQ people in Hungary and pushes for LGBTQ persons to be treated as second class citizens. The added language states that “a father is a man and a mother is a woman”, that “children have a right to be brought up according to Christian values”, and “chldren have a right to be raised according to their biological sex”.
  • Also in December 2020, Viktor Orbán dismantled the Equal Treatment Authority, the one and only independent public authority that has been judging discrimination cases and has been consistently making professional and measured decisions.

We ask you to call out Prime Minister Boris Johnson if he asked about the Equal Treatment Authority, about the ban on legal gender recognition, about the ban on adoption for people living in same-sex relationships, about popularizing conversion therapies and about stigmatizing LGBTQ persons as people who are “not even Hungarian” and who are “not part of the nation”. Boris Johnson must be reminded that he cannot celebrate Pride Month while simultaneously buddying up with Europe’s most homophobic leaders.

Statistically, it would be impossible for Viktor Orbán not to have LGBTQ family members or friends, it would be a good step to ask him how he can look into the eyes of his LGBTQ acquaintances after pursuing this anti-LGBTQ witch hunt. 

Thank you in advance for standing in solidarity with the Hungarian LGBTQ community and helping us to stand up for our rights during these extremely difficult times.

Boris Johnson, Viktor Orbán