“Hungarians are patient with homosexuals so far, but leave our kids alone” - said Viktor Orbán on the national radio (Kossuth Radio) this morning (4th October), meanwhile neonazis are protesting againts a children’s story reading event, and the police doesn’t do anything. Not suprisingly, Vladimir Putin said almost exactly the same words in 2014 about gay olimpic icons. Is this how Orbán steps on Duda’s path?
As I am writing these lines, far-right radicals are trying to disrupt a children’s story reading event and the police are not doing anything to stop them. Inside the venue two actors are reading stories that are being livestreamed to Facebook. Originally it would not have been an online event, but yesterday the organizers cancelled the children’s attendance because of the neonazis. Outside, right on the doorstep, about 15 neonazis are chanting and the police are just standing there helplessly, not doing anything to move the far-right radicals further from the entrance. According to our lawyer, it was already unlawful that the police accepted and protects this far-right demonstration, as the demonstration was announced to be right at the venue entrance, and was clearly posing a threat to children. Therefore the fact that the police didn’t ban the demonstration, they violated the Law of Assembly.
It is a truly heartbreaking morning for the Hungarian LGBTQ community as Orbán publicly joins forces with the far-right in an anti-LGBTQ agenda, and starts his full-on attack on the LGBTQ community. His party, Fidesz has been collaborating with far-right groups for years, but this was the first instance that the prime minister came out strongly attacking basic human rights and integrity of LGBTQ persons.
What is Orbán talking about?
Dóra Dúró, deputy-leader of the far-right party “Our Nation Movement” (Mi Hazánk Mozgalom) shredded a book that, according to her, includes “homosexual propaganda”. After her action of book-destroying (which reminded a lot of Hungarians of the darkest era of the XXth century).
But what is this book about?
This week Labrisz Lesbian Association published a children’s storybook, which was greated with positivity both from journalists, children’s story-writers, authors and the majority of the public. The book is titled “The land of Stories are for All” (Meseország Mindenkié). The storybook includes wonderful artwork and 17 bedtime stories from critically acclaimed and amateur writers. Out of these 17 stories, 2 include characters who are part of the LGBTQ community, the other 15 stories have heroes from other minorities, like roma, poor, adopted, disabled, and jewish. The book also incorporates stories about accepting and empowering others, dealing with parents getting a divorce, understanding other people’s perspectives. The publishers even created a guide for kindergarten and elementary school teachers with 3-4 games and interactive tasks to each story with which kids can process the story, imagine themselves in the shoes of one of the characters and disect the conflicts within the story.
After Dúró destroyed the book, it quickly gained national publicity. Musicians, actors, writers were coming out to protect this book, and the sales were skyrocketing. At multiple distribution bookstores, this children’s book became the #1 seller and the first 1,500 copies were sold out within a few hours, and more than 8,000 pre-orders were placed.
So what is Fidesz doing with these radical extremists?
In spite of the fact that Fidesz has been collaborating with “Our Nation Movement” and other radical extremist groups for months, everybody believed that this will be an isolated act of the far-right, the hugely positive feedback of the public opinion will overpower the far-right actions. But there were signs that this time, it will be different, and Fidesz is about to jump in.
Until 2019, Orbán tried to distance himself from the LGBTQ-topic. One of his memorable comments was made in 2014, when Index (when it was still independent and not owned by Orbán) asked for his message for IDAHOT. Orbán replied that he’s “thankful for the homosexual community for staying quiet” and “reserving this equilibrium between Hungariand and homosexuals”. These words came back today on Kossuth Radio, where he talked about “homosexuals” and Hungarians as two different groups, with no overlap.
In 2019, after László Kövér’s homophobic rant (see below) he mentioned in three of his speeches during August and September, that he wishes to constitutionally ban gays and lesbians to adopt as signel parents. (Currently, equal marriage is banned by the constitution, and same-sex couples cannot have children together. The only opportunity for adoption is if only one member of the couple becomes the legal parent to the adopted child).
From 2019 September till today, Orbán was staying silent on the LGBTQ topic, although the increasing homophobia of the government propaganda media was more and more alarming. Lot of Hungarians are now afraid that Orbán will try to mimic Andrzej Duda’s violent anti-LGBTQ election campaign. A few days ago, on 21th September, Orbán told in his op-ed that from now until 2022, every day is an election campaign, and his party members need to win every day.
But this attack from Orbán on the LGBTQ community didn’t come out of the blue. Just to go over the past few months, there were dozens of cases where Fidesz was actively supporting or aiding anti-LGBTQ far-right actions. The common in these cases is that Fidesz was only collaborating with the far-right in cases of anti-LGBTQ actions.
What where the events that led up to this public collaboration between Orbán and radical extremists?
-> on July 25th, 2020 István Boldog, member (and former deputy caucus leader) of Fidesz took a selfie with the leader of the far-right radical group “European Patriots Unite”, and assured them of his support. A few weeks later, on August 17th, European Patriots Unite brought about 20 people and attempted to attack and disrupt an LGBTQ Christian event that was part of the Budapest Pride Festival. It was only the matter of professionalism from Budapest Pride’s safety volunteer crew and legal observers, that they didn’t succeed.
-> on August 17th and 18th Előd Novák, deputy leader of the “Our Nation Movement” stole rainbow flags from public buildings: from Budapest’s City Hall and from Budapest’s 11th district’s City Hall. He was accompanied by the far-right radical football fanclub “aryan greens”, who stole and burned the rainbow flag that was on Budapest’s 9th distctrict City Hall. All three crimes were celebrated as heroic acts in the mediums owned by Lőrincz Mészáros, Viktor Orbán’s best friend. 888 reported that they are happy that the “streets were cleaned”, PestiSrácok called for criminalizing “genderpropaganda”, and a fidesz-allied journalist talked on HírTV about 100% agreeing with Előd Novák’s criminal acts. Just to highlight: these are not far-right radical mediums like Kurucinfó, Alfahír, Szent korona rádió. These media platforms define themselves as “christian democratic” and function as a government propaganda-platform since they were purchased by Orbán’s main oligarch, Mészáros.
-> The common agenda of Előd Novák and László Kövér (senior member of Fidesz and Speaker of Assembly). They both popularize the famous hoax that the LGBTQ community is embracing pedophilia as a sexual orientation. The well-known fake news are coming from an american far-right blog 4chan where radical extremists are collecting “tips and tricks” to set back the LGBTQ movement. They came up with an idea of spreading these news, and advised other radicals to use the acronym “LGBTQP” and put up fake posters in cities. On May 15th 2019, László Kövér, member of Fidesz and Speaker of Assembly, called same-sex parents pedophiles in his speech during the EP election campaign. The same year, fake posters started to appear in Budapest around June 3rd 2019, with similar messages (and poor graphics), known to be the action of one of the far-right groups. Novák also started popularizing this hoax, he’s often in a t-shirt that says “no LGBTQP”. The far-right platforms quickly adapted the new strategy.
-> On May 29th 2019, György Budaházy, prominent leader of the far-right (who’s currently being charged with terrorism), told in one of ONM’s recruitment forums that Fidesz actually helpes “Our Nation Movement”, as they have mutual interests.
-> Only a few days ago, on 28th September, Fidesz’s coalition party KDNP (Christian Democratic People’s Party) announced that they founded their youth organization in Veszprém with the sole purpose of “starting a full-blown attack” on the LGBTQ community.
And to circle back to this children’s storybook. When Dúró destroyed the book, on September 29th, one of the main TV channels owned by Orbán’s oligarch, HírTV gave Dúró an uninterrupted 8 minutes to spread here violent values, with no effort to show the other side of the story. After this report, the national radio (Kossuth Radio) eagerly did a report on the book, practically reciting Dúró’s arguments.
And how dangerous can it get?
Either we look at the Polish example, where the police was beating up and locking up LGBTQ activist, or the Hungarian example, these steps are not only alarming from the viewpoint of health and safety of LGBTQ activist, but for the whole of the Hungarian democracy, that's already bleeding from several wounds. This step functions as another milestone in the process where Orbán transform Hungary’s democracy into a hybrid system and then into an autocracy.
In 2008-2009 when the famous “roma murders” happened, far-right radicals killed 6 roma persons driven by prejudistic motifs. The murderers were connected to the military terrorist group “Hungarian Guard” (Magyar Gárda), that had more than 1,000 members. The Hungarian Guard was famous for marching in military formations in order to scare roma communities ad "serve justice" when they thought it is necessary. The Hungarian Guard was banned in 2009, but in 2019 - in line with the new chapter of the Hungarian anti-LGBTQ propaganda - Our Nation Movement founded a new militaristic far-right group called “National Legion” with “similar values to the Hungarian Guard”.
(picture: gathering of thousands of Hungarian Guards on Heroes Square in Budapest, 2007)