The National Assembly of Hungary adopted Bill Number T/16365 on Tuesday, effectively banning sexual orientation and gender identity related discourse in schools.
The new law, which bans discussions relating to the LGBTQIA+ community, contains various other provisions that put in place stronger measures against acts of pedophilia and sexual crimes against children–all the provisions forming part of the narrative of protecting children.
The new law amends various statutes, the primary one being Act XXXI of 1997 on the Protection of Children and the Administration of Guardianship. Section 1 of the new law, which makes an amendment to the 1997 Act, prohibits the act of making available to a person below 18 years of age any content which disseminates an understanding of gender that deviates from sex assigned at birth or which promotes and displays homosexuality.
In a similar spirit, section 3 of the new law amends Act XLVIII of 2008 on the Basic Requirements and Certain Restrictions of Commercial Advertising Activities and prohibits advertising in a way which makes available to a person below 18 years of age content relating to one’s self-identity being different from one’s sex assigned at birth, gender reassignment or homosexuality, with the aim of protecting children in their sexual development.
Various rights organizations have opposed the new law for being discriminatory, violating free speech and stigmatizing the LGBTQIA+ community. They have urged the President of Hungary Janos Ader to veto the bill and send it back to the National Assembly for review.
Neela Ghoshal, the Associate LGBT Rights Director at Human Rights Watch stated, “Hungary’s ruling party is cynically deploying a ‘protection of children’ narrative to trample on rights and try to render LGBT people invisible. Children do not need to be protected from exposure to diversity. On the contrary, LGBT children and families need protection from discrimination and violence.”