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European Union MEPs slam Hungary’s ‘outrageous, shocking yet not surprising’ attack on its own trans community

Lily Wakefield April 3, 2020
MEPs slam Viktor Orbán over abuse of Hungary's trans community

Viktor Orban at a coronavirus press conference with the leaders of the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia on March 4, 2020. (Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty)

European Union MEPs have slammed Viktor Orbán and Hungary after moves to strip away trans rights, calling it an “outrageous and deliberate” attack.

On Tuesday, March 31, the Hungarian parliament agreed to extend the power of its far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán by granting him the right to rule by decree indefinitely, meaning he no longer needs to consult other lawmakers before making decisions.

On the same day, which was also Transgender Day of Visibility, Orbán’s deputy prime minister Zsolt Semjén introduced a new bill which, if passed, would replace “gender” with “birth sex” in all legal documents issued in the country.

This would mean that Hungarian citizens would be unable to change their gender legally, a significant rollback of rights for the country’s trans community.

Since data in official documents such as ID cards, driving licenses and passports are taken from the civil registry, the change would affect these as well.

Viktor Orban
Prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán in Brussels on February 21, 2020 (Riccardo Pareggiani/NurPhoto/Getty)

Now, European Union MEPs have hit back at the move to take away trans rights, calling it “intentional abuse”.

Marc Angel, MEP and co-president of the LGBTI Intergroup in the European Parliament, said: “This attack on the trans community is outrageous and deliberate… This move does not only intentionally silence the trans community – it seeks to erase it and deny its existence.”

Angel pointed out that Orbán and his party, Fidezs, have persistently attacked trans rights. He said that “legal gender recognition procedures have been intentionally stalled” since 2016.

Since 2018, Hungary has withheld its evaluations of people’s applications to have their gender or name changed, which has meant that trans people in the Eastern European country have had to exist with the incorrect name or gender.

In 2015, Orbán blocked an agreement to prevent LGBT+ discrimination in Hungary, and in 2017 he hosted and spoke on behalf of a vile anti-LGBT+ group in Budapest.

Terry Reintke MEP, also co-president of the LGBTI Intergroup in the European Parliament, commented: “Fidezs’s latest move is shocking, yet not surprising.

“The LGBTI community has been continuously exposed to attacks and civil society has been systematically silenced.

“Rule of law in Hungary has been under threat and this move crystallises yet another abuse of power, this time under the pretext of COVID-19 emergency measures… Legal gender recognition is the baseline for protection of trans persons in Hungary.

“Without access to it, they are widely exposed to discrimination and harassment. This move is nothing short of intentional abuse.

“The European community must ensure that it does not go unpunished.”

More: Coronavirus, European Union, gender marker, Hungary, legal name change, Marc Angel, Terry Reintke, trans community, trans rights

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