How Hungary's annual drag contest is operating in shadow of anti-LGBTQIA+ law

Edited By: Bharat Sharma WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Jul 05, 2021, 01:23 PM(IST)

First placed drag queen Chintya Fama reacts during the 'Drag Queen Hungary 2021' beauty contest in Budapest, Hungary, July 3, 2021 Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

By conflating pedophilia with homosexuality, Hungary is attempting to limit the public display of all-things-gay in hopes of staying true to its “traditional values”, a claim made by nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban on multiple occasions

Hungary’s crackdown on what it perceives as “homosexual” has left the LGBTQIA+ community feeling abandoned, especially in the midst of the country’s annual drag queen competition.

On June 15, Hungary’s parliament passed legislation to fight pedophilia. At the same time, it banned the dissemination of any content in schools which seems to “promote” homosexuality and gender reassignment.

The law, which comes into effect next week has stoked fears among the community for its far-reaching effects.

By conflating pedophilia with homosexuality, Hungary is attempting to limit the public display of all-things-gay in hopes of staying true to its “traditional values”, a claim made by nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban on multiple occasions. 

Drag competition underway amid fears

With fear in their minds, the LGBTQIA+ community is currently participating in the annual drag race. "Let's party hard while we still can," drag queen Bonnie Andrews told Reuters as she took the stage in a black evening gown and a tiara.

Many fear that the legislation could strengthen anti-LGBT+ sentiments in the country. "We are afraid to get on the tram. When we do so, we put our hands in our pockets to hide our painted nails. We have always done this, though," a contestant named Katheryne Taylor told Reuters.

The drag ball takes place in a converted factory situated in an industrial state situated on the outskirts of Budapest. The organiser of the contest, Tamas Doka told Reuters that they chose this venue for security reasons.

The fear of exremists

Doka shed light on the fears brewing within the community as Orban cracks down on sexual minorities. According to Doka, participants of contest feel scared of “extremists” who may hurl things at them.

To avoid any unfortunate incidents, the organisers have come up with a way to ensure safety. Once the guests are let in, the door is locked and the next guest would be required to ring the bill. This isolation helps keep the participants safe.

The new law does ban drag shows, but allows them to operate only after 10 pm, with a complete ban on minors attending the show.

Last week, Prime Minister Viktor Orban drew ire from fellow European Union members over the homophobic law. Germany’s European affairs minister said that the law blatantly violates values of the European Union. A Swedish minister referred to the law as “grotesque”.

Also read: In major win for LGBTQIA+ community, Canada passes bill criminalising 'conversion therapy'

Also read: Hungary's new legislation could stir trouble for its LGBTQIA+ population

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