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Hungarian politician defends Viktor Orbán’s cruel crusade to legally erase trans people as ‘a protection of human rights’

Vic Parsons May 6, 2020
Hungary: MP says Orbán's attack on trans people 'protects human rights'

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivers a speech in front of the National Museum during Hungary's National Day celebrations on March 15, 2019 in Budapest, Hungary. (Laszlo Balogh/Getty Images)

A senior politician in Hungary has defended far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán’s move to strip away trans rights as “creating legal clarity”.

Gergely Gulyás, the minister of the prime minister’s office and a member of the ruling Fidesz party, made the comments in a letter to the European Parliament.

“Hungary guarantees everybody’s fundamental rights,” he wrote in the April 29 letter. “The bill that you protest against creates legal clarity in harmony with the constitution.”

Leading human-rights organisation ILGA-Europe criticised his comments as being “misleading and in bad faith”.

Gulyás was responding to an April 3 missive from MEPs to the Hungarian government, slamming Orbán and his move to legally erase trans people as an “outrageous and deliberate” attack.

Orbán’s deputy, Zsolt Semjén, put forward proposals targeting Hungary’s trans community as part of an omnibus bill on March 31 – Trans Day of Visibility – just hours after Orbán gained the right to rule by decree indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under Article 33 of the omnibus bill, “sex or gender” will be replaced with “birth sex” on all legal documents issued in Hungary, with people’s sex being recorded at birth according to chromosomes and primary sexual characteristics and thereafter unable to be changed.

Gulyás wrote that this “will end a long-standing uncertainty in legal interpretation” as “the notion of a person’s ‘sex’ is not currently legally defined in Hungary due to its self-evident nature”.

Calling this a “legal deficiency”, Gulyás said Article 33 would address this by “introducing the concept of ‘sex at birth’… a person’s sex at birth can be identified based on their primary sexual characteristics and chromosomes”.

Responding to MEPs concerns that the bill attacks trans people, Gulyás added that the state’s decision to record “birth sex” in every child’s birth certificate “does not affect men’s and women’s rights to freely experience and exercise their identities as they wish”.

The law will ban trans people from changing their legal name or gender and effectively erase the existence of trans and intersex people in Hungary.

Trans people in Hungary previously told PinkNews the devastating consequences of the bill passing mean they are contemplating suicide and preparing to flee once the borders reopen after the COVID-19 crisis.

Talking about the proposed law, the trans community in Hungary have emphasised that showing ID documents is a very common occurrence in Hungary – when collecting a parcel at the post office, buying a bus ticket, entering a ticketed music venue – and that having an ID with a name and gender marker that doesn’t correspond to the person’s gender identity or expression is extremely dangerous.

If passed, the law would mean that trans people are outed every time they show ID, in a country where violent transphobia is rife and government-sanctioned.

Amazingly, Gulyás ended by attempting to criticise MEPs for raising issues with Article 33 during the coronavirus pandemic – despite it having been the Hungarian government that put forward the bill in the first place.

More: Article 33, European Parliament, fidesz, gender recognition, Hungary, legal gender recognition, Trans, trans rights, viktor orban, World

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