An increasing number of pro-government journalists are taking a radical stance against Pride Week, LGBTI, and what they call “gender propaganda.” Meanwhile, a left-wing journalist criticizes the Fidesz-led government’s symbolism policies, and a liberal analyst discusses the LGBTI community’s situation.
Background information: While the Pride parade was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, the accompanying events within the framework of the Pride Festival kicked-off on Friday. The Budapest mayor, faithful to his campaign promise, displayed the rainbow flag on City Hall, and this was eventually emulated in at least three other districts. On Friday, however, Ferencváros’ radical football fans stripped off rainbow flag one on the 9th district’s town hall, and on Sunday night, far-right Mi Hazánk party’s vice-president Előd Novák joined them and stripped off the one displayed on City Hall. Meanwhile, 39 embassies and cultural institutes welcomed Pride Week and condemned discrimination and violent acts against the LGBTI community.
After that, on Monday, a number of well-known, pro-government opinion leaders assured Előd Novák of virtual and financial solidarity. Pesti Srácok columnist Tamás Pilhál demands what he calls “gender propaganda” to be criminalized. In his view, “the time has come, we must stop the madness!” adding that “Hungarians are a patient, peace-loving people, perhaps too much.” He thinks millions of Hungarians are on the same page with him on this one. He views the weekend incidents as “a rebellion of normalcy. They rebelled against the anti-family, decadence, celebration of insane perversions, against the Western madness plummeting towards hell.”
888.hu’s Dániel Bohár blames Gergely Karácsony for the hatred. He argues that, after the parade was cancelled, this could have finally been a year when Budapest and the press are not loud with slogans like “dirty gays” or “damn Nazis”. But Karácsony achieved the opposite by displaying the rainbow flag.
Another pro-govt blogger, Bence Apáti, thinks LGBTI people are the safest they have ever been over the last 1000 years, still, they are “whining” once again, and endlessly.
Meanwhile, LGBTI magazine Humen lists memes and mocks Előd Novák for his “brave action” and for his enthusiasm in the collection of LGBTQ flags.
Liberal 24.hu sarcastically labels Novák’s action as “CIA-like” after the Mi Hazánk president compared his escape with the flag to those in the Bourne movies.
In left-wing daily Népszava, Judit N. Kósa blames Fidesz for the flag misery that, in her opinion, the (now governing) party started 20 years ago (listing, for example, the removal of the EU’s flag from government-related events and places, the display of the Székely flag on Parliament, and Budapest’s new “little drummer-like” flag that was changed by former mayor Tarlós). If a power brings flags so emphatically into “its primitive symbolism politics,” then all related actions will carry weight, she argues. Therefore, it does have a symbolic meaning that a member of an auxiliary group of Fidesz (what Mi Hazánk is, according to the leftist publicist) strips off a flag from City Hall.
In an interview with liberal 444.hu, newly-established leftist weekly Jelen’s editor-in-chief, political analyst Zoltán Lakner, who came out as gay in 2014, thinks that in general it’s good that things like adoption by gay couples can be now discussed. On the other hand, he criticizes the government for using the label “gay” for character assassination, and for being willing to use certain groups and minorities as targets for economic or political reasons. He thinks there is a lot more to do for equal rights, as the gay community’s acceptance in Hungary ebbs and flows. He calls Novák’s behaviour “ridiculous” and criticizes the pro-government media for its biased coverage of the events.
Featured (archive) photo illustration by Zoltán Máthé/MTI