Hungary puts LGBT+ people on par with gory horror films like Saw with new 18+ film rating

Emma Powys Maurice September 16, 2021
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Some films with LGBT+ representation now have the same age ranking as the "Saw" series in Hungary (YouTube/Optik)

Hungary has issued shocking film ratings that equate LGBT+ representation with content in horror movies like Saw or The Exorcist.

The new guidelines for broadcasters were issued by Hungary’s media regulator, the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH), on Wednesday (15 September).

They relegate films portraying what the NMHH called the “virtues, uniqueness of benefits of homosexuality or change of gender” to the 18+ restriction in order to “protect” minors.

This puts Oscar-winning Spanish director Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother or The L Word series on par with gory horror films such as the Saw slasher series or The Exorcist.

“The protection of minors does not mean that certain issues are a taboo. Rather, it assesses the entire context and message with regard to the age-appropriate intellectual and processing capabilities of minors,” the regulator said.

It claimed that the new ratings did not represent an outright ban on LGBT+ media, only a restriction on films in which queerness is “a defining feature”.

“General gestures expressing tenderness, like a kiss on the cheeks, a hug, holding hands while walking, or a kiss cannot be considered problematic unless they are portrayed for their own sake or constitute a central element of the program,” the guidelines state.

The new policy comes in the wake of a new ban on the “display and promotion of homosexuality” to children under 18, which prohibits any discussion of LGBT+ people in schools, advertising and the media.

The ban was modelled on Russia’s controversial “gay propaganda” law in spite of a 2018 report proving this law is directly harming and endangering LGBT+ children and youths.

Hungary has already applied this law to books, which now must bear an 18+ rating if they include any reference to LGBT+ people.

One publisher was fined thousands for failing to “warn” parents of the LGBT+ content in a children’s book about a family with same-sex parents.

Amnesty International’s Budapest office issued a statement in June saying the law “will expose people already facing a hostile environment to even greater discrimination.”

More: Hungary, lgbt representation, Saw, The Exorcist

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