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Speak up, stand up! Standing strong and loud together

Putting things in perspective regarding the heated atmosphere for the LGBT community in Hungary in 2020

If people are talking about you, you must be doing something right” is a common sentence that we’ve seen plenty of times, but taking into consideration the current climate and sentiment towards LGBT people in Hungary, there must be some truth in it.

Our community is going through a very interesting phase, with haters being louder than ever and with tons of theories about how the “LGBT agenda” poses a threat to Hungarian society. The attack has been so strong and consistent, it is easy to lose hope that one day Hungary will be a country where diversity and tolerance makes this a more civilized society.

But let’s switch the narrative and start with a basic principle: The reason why we are in the mouth of politicians and extremists is because of the huge progress we have been making.

It is just normal to receive backlash when in the last year we had the very first mass media LGBT campaign, an LGBT-supporting Mayor was elected in Budapest, we were having plenty of LGBT venues and parties happening in a constantly growing nightlife industry and we even had the support of many district mayors, hanging the Pride flag on the most important offices in Budapest. We even have a growing drag community in the city, which is fantastic! Unfortunately, the negative news are the ones making headlines, but let’s not let them erase the progress we’ve made.

Let’s add something else: we’ve seen hate campaigns against immigration, against education, against the European Union… and the list goes on. It is just normal to need a new target, and it is just easier to join the new wave of anti-LGBT sentiment happening in the world if it means securing voters that want protection against this “new devil”.

The point is, let’s remember that Hungary is not a homophobic country and we must not take these things personally or get lost in political games. In these times, we must speak up and stand together. Here is a list of recommendations to remain strong and to not let the negativity win.

 

 

Talk to your friends

It is easy to get depressed, feel alone and lose hope because of the current situation, but talk to your friends and open up about your thoughts and feelings. Things usually seem less difficult and overwhelming once we talk about them. Also, it will help you realize you are not alone and more people are going through the same things and having the same thoughts as you are.

Speak up

If there is a time to stand up for yourself, it is now. Nothing will become normal if we keep hiding it! Don’t be afraid to show affection on the street, to be out and proud. As long as you are not hurting anybody or crossing anybody’s personal space, you are allowed to speak up and be yourself. Show everyone that we, in the LGBT community, are just like everyone else.

Report homophobia

Don’t let little things pass. If a homophobic colleague is making nasty comments, report him to HR. If you see someone harassing an LGBT person, defend them. If you see anyone’s behavior to be aggressive and intolerant, or you are ever discriminated, get support to fight it, even legally if necessary. Unfortunately, we are in an era where people feel comfortable spreading hate and they get away with it because sometimes we don’t do anything against it. But it is our responsibility to stop it.

Support

If you are in the capacity to do it, donate money, volunteer in your free time and support LGBT activities, businesses and people. We cannot complain about the situation for the LGBT community in Hungary if we aren’t actively doing something to make it better. It is easy to simply live our lives and enjoy the parties, but real change takes commitment and effort. Fortunately, the amount of people and organizations striving and working for a better LGBT life in Hungary are still standing, and there are plenty of ways how we can get involved.

Don’t let the current headlines and small actions from people take away the pride and progress we have. The battle for our rights is not an easy one, but as Mama Ru says: “Unless they’re paying your bills, pay them b**ches no mind!”

Germán Henao

 

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