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LGBT History Month in Hungary – February 2 – March 2, 2018

LGBT History Month is a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. Originated in the USA in 1994, it provides role models, builds community, and puts emphasis on the community’s extraordinary national and international contributions. Regarding that last statement, 2018 is definitely a year for the Hungarian LGBT community to be proud: this year’s programs are centered around the 150th anniversary of the creation of the word ’homosexuality’ by Károly Kertbeny, a Hungarian literary translator.  

Besides using the word ’homosexuality’ (and ’heterosexuality’) for the first time in 1868, Kertbeny was also a  kind of predecessor of gay rights activists: a year after his creation of the phrases, he published two pamphlets regarding the decriminalization of homosexuality. His contributions to the language that we use to describe members of the LGBT community who are attracted to their own sex, were a game-changer – up until then, every term was at least somewhat derogatory, if not outright vulgar. However, Kertbeny was mainly forgotten in the 20th century; his work was rediscovered in the 80s and it’s still under research by internationally-renowned sociologist Judit Takács whose presentation is going to open the LGBT History Month this year.  

During the month of February, around 40 events organized and hosted by more than 20 associations and institutions await visitors. Just to have a glimpse of the numerous programs: there are going to be presentations on the American homophile movement, on the secret women’s circles from the age of the Enlightenment, about polyamory and Magnus Hirschfeld, an exhibition about gay/lesbian athletes and another one about transgender people. Furthermore, you can enjoy yourself during classes of same-sex ballroom dancing and a number of fun parties.        

LGBT History Month was celebrated in Hungary for the first time in February 2013 when a group of people from different nationalities gathered in Ljubljana and decided that more European countries should organize their own event, similar to the American and British versions. Since then, Romanian, Lithuanian, Scottish and Slovakian LGBT communities also observe LGBT History Month. The Hungarian program series is coordinated by Háttér Society and Labrisz Lesbian Association, events are organized in partnership with other LGBT organizations, cultural and academic institutions, etc. The majority of the events take place in Budapest, but a few events are also organized in larger cities all over the country, e.g. in Debrecen, Pécs, Miskolc and Szeged. 

Although most of the events of the LGBT History Month (official Facebook page) will be held in Hungarian, there are also a number of programs where language definitely won’t be a barrier. Here our top picks for foreign visitors. 


Before Homosexuals 

Date: February 27, 2018  Tuesday 18:00–20:00 

Location: Labrisz office, great hall 

Organizer: Háttér Scoiety & Labrisz Lesbian Association   

Before Homosexuals is an American documentary feature film showcasing the history of same-sex relationships from the antiquity to the Victorian era. From ancient Roman lesbian rituals and the censored chapters of Kama Sutra to Native Americans born with „double souls”, it is a wonderful journey from the producer and director of Before Stonewall and After Stonewall.  

Christa BiedermannWithout fear? – film performance 

Date: February 28, 2018 Wednesday 20:00–21:30 

Location: Auróra 

Organizer: Labrisz Lesbian Association 

A significant contributor to the women’s and lesbian art scene with her queer and feminist pieces, filmmaker, photographer and performer Christa Biedermann is going to do a performance while also showcasing her cabaret-style films, followed by discussions.   


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