Police Refuse to Allow Budapest Pride to Happen This Year

The gays in Budapest have struggled for years, for their freedom and acceptance. It’s a gorgeous city and a great value for travelers.

 We were there last year for their gay pride, which had been on again, off again during the planning months. Police were unsure they wanted to provide the protection needed. In the end, the pride parade and march did happen – but over 1400 police were on hand to make sure no skinheads or fascists bothered or harmed the marchers.

The Budapest Pride is Hungary’s largest annual LGBT event. It has historically been known under several names, including Budapest Gay Dignity Procession (Hungarian Meleg Méltóság Menet) or simply “happy parade” (Hungarian Meleg Méltóság Menet). The parade has taken place each year since 1997, usually on the first Saturday of July, proceeding along Budapest’s most expansive thoroughfare, Andrássy Avenue, between the City Park (Városliget) and Elizabeth Square (Erzsébet tér). Though much smaller in scale than similar gay pride parades in Western Europe and the Americas,  between a thousand and two thousand marchers typically participate in the Budapest procession. Radical right-wing demonstrators and hooligans have severely disrupted the Budapest gay parades held in 2007 and 2008, casting concerns with the Police in Budapest.

the past, sometimes anti-gay groups threw eggs, smoke bombs and bottles
into the crowds. Several years ago, Gábor Demszky, Budapest’s mayor
from the Alliance of Free Democrats party, condemned the violence
against the event for which he had expressed unambiguous support.
However, three non-governmental organizations accused the
government-supported police of doing little to stop the fascists.

Last year’s parade went off just fine,  other than some anti-gay people yelling at us. But I am guessing the city feels the cost to have 1400 police on high alert was too much?

We received this   press release today –

The Budapest Police Department has refused to grant permission for this year’s Budapest Pride march. The march had been announced for July 7, 2012, with a route from City Park to Alkotmány Street along Andrássy Avenue, by the festival’s organizers, the Rainbow Mission Foundation. This is not the first time the police have tried to prevent the march, and this year they again justified their decision to restrict our freedom of assembly with the claim that it is impossible to redirect traffic to another route. With the help of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ), we are filing a petition for review of the ban. We look forward to the Budapest Metropolitan Court repealing the police’s decision, which is expected to be announced in the next few weeks.

Banning the march is one of the means used to silence the LGBTQ community. The last two years have seen democracy, human rights, and the rule of law threatened in Hungary, and through its actions, the government has infringed upon the rights of many groups. The Basic Law, passed in April 2011 and in effect since the beginning of this year, the “family protection” law voted on last December, and the Hungarian Society for the Science of the Family founded in February all severely violate the rights of LGBTQ people. Banning the Pride march would only exacerbate the social marginalization of this community.

One of the themes we are highlighting in this year’s festival is the diversity of the LGBTQ community in Hungary. Given that the community is often invisible, our diversity of identities and experiences often goes unrecognized even within the community. For example, bisexual, queer, and trans people frequently find themselves marginalized and their voices unheard. LGBTQ people who are members of other marginalized groups as well (disabled people, national, ethnic, and religious minorities, etc.) are hardly ever allowed the opportunity to express their full identities. Mainstream society’s view of the LGBTQ community is restricted to a very narrow segment of the group, primarily gay men and lesbian women, and this picture is often based on explicitly homophobic and transphobic stereotypes.

Kudos to the gay community! They are not backing down and plan to march with or without a permit!

The campaign video against the ban

2012 Budapest Pride for news and updates

If you love architecture,  Hungary is STUNNING! It is a gorgeous city. And there a dozen or so gay bars and clubs. They have a couple saunas. There is lots to see and do and  it is so inexpensive to  eat and drink and sleep there.  HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!