Gay parade: Trouble is already brewing in Hungary

Last year was the first time in Hungary that far-right groups attacked members of the gay festival held in early July, a day designated for the event worldwide. At that time I wasn’t terribly surprised because physical violence had became commonplace in Hungary ever since the fall of 2006. Initially the police managed to keep order and guard the safety of the participants. At that time (July 7, 2007) I wrote a piece praising the Hungarian police about a job well done. Two days later I had to change my mind: the police left the scene too early, and these extreme homophobic groups attacked people after the official celebration ended. Blood was flowing.


This year we might expect much greater trouble. First of all, the police have become weak-kneed. The gay community went to the the Budapest police to request a permit for their planned parade on Andrássy út. To the utter surprise of everybody, the police announced that, unlike in previous years when the gays didn’t unduly interfere with traffic, this year they would. So the police chief refused permission. An outcry followed. A day later the police chief changed his mind. (I suspect after some pressure from above.) Most likely the Budapest police simply didn’t feel like getting involved and, suspecting trouble, thought that the best course of action was simply to ban the event and save everybody a lot of trouble. But, let’s face it, this is a cowardly and in the final analysis an unacceptable way of handling extremist outbursts.


While a year ago the anti-gay groups were mostly satisfied with verbal abuse and only at the end was there physical violence, this year at least one attack has already taken place. Not just a few guys bloodying the faces of some of the participants but a very dangerous incident that might have ended in tragedy. What happened is the following. A far-right internet site apparently listed a number of gay bars in Budapest. A few days later, the best-known such establishment received a telephone call asking about their hours. That happened around 2 o’clock in the morning. One of the owners informed the caller that they were still open. The callers appeared and threw some Molotov cocktails into the bar while there were still about a dozen customers inside. Fire broke out. The people inside managed to contain the fire and luckily no one was hurt. So that’s where we are at the moment, and there is at least another week before the actual parade. I’ll bet the Budapest police are not happy.


In western Europe, on the whole, these gay pride parades usually take place without serious trouble. There are exceptions, but normally the police manage to handle the few dozen muscle-bound guys who take pleasure in such activity. One cannot say the same thing about eastern Europe: there were troubles a couple of days ago in Bulgaria. If I recall, similar problems occurred in Bucharest a year ago. Until last year Hungary seemed to be closer to Vienna than to Bucharest or Sofia. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.


One reason for the eastern European vehemence against gays is ignorance. Just as in so many other things, information in the one-party dictatorships was practically nonexistent. In perhaps all of the former Soviet bloc countries, homosexual acts even among consenting adults were punishable offenses. Even people from whom one expected some rudimentary knowledge of homosexuality said such stupid things that I couldn’t believe my ears. Almost fifteen years ago there was a Hungarian-language list on the internet where the topic was discussed. There was a doctor on the list. He claimed that he was a psychiatrist. He came up with the brilliant idea that homosexuality is like smoking: one can get addicted to it. However, a homosexual can quit his homosexuality just as a smoker can overcome his addiction. Not long ago a Catholic bishop offered another fantastic theory: homosexuality has become fashionable so young people decide to become gay. A Fidesz local politician who is a member of the committee on health issues in a Budapest district just announced that he would like to find out whether homosexuality is an illness or not. He knows nothing about it.


Thus one cannot be surprised that guys with an eighth-grade education attack participants of the gay parade or throw Molotov cocktails into a gay bar when the doctor, the bishop, and the politician say such extraordinary things.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Sandor
Guest
Eva, I am disappointed. You are writing about the banal matters, traffic and gay pride, obviously suffering the pangs of the “cucumber season,” while the really momentous and important news is slipping by unnoticed. You should have paid more attention to the earth-shattering event that occurred in XVth district, in Karacsony Beno Park over the weekend. The mass rally of the establishment of the National Forces. You just cannot ignore an event of such enormous importance. Particularly not since a true copy of the Sacred Crown was also present! I leave the honor of writing the ground-breaking article to you, but before you do, let me call your attention to the fact that the acronym for the new “aggravation” is not ROAR, not QUAKE, or BANG, or anything really big, but modestly: NESZ (could be said as rustle). The unintended implication is that they started not with a BANG, but with a rustle. The video of this truly gut-wrenching event is available here: http://hvg.hu/itthon/20080629_szentkorona_radikalisok.aspx This event was so-so Hungarian in its cringe-inducing entirety that you could not find anything better no matter how hard you tried. And the epitome of it all was the “sic transit gloria mundi” moment of… Read more »
Te Jó Ég!
Guest

“a true copy of the Sacred Crown”
Biztos hogy “a true copy” volt?
Húúúúúú

Odin's lost eye
Guest
@Sandor, I think what the professor is driving at is nothing to do with homosexuals (of all genders) but the response that it (and other things) evoke amongst the ‘Knuckle Heads’ of the world. Mind you I suspect that that ‘lot’ would have a ‘punch up’ with any group who do not conform to their levels of ignorance. Even being able to write one’s own name would classify you as an enemy. A few months ago I was in a ‘boozer’ having a quiet glass of ‘elevenses’ when in walked or rather ‘brachiated’ three of these objects. They bundled out some swarthy small lads accusing them of being gypsies. They then started questioning people in a very threatening manner. Most people left without finishing their drinks. As I am over 70, I just moved into the garden finished my beer and went on my way. Later I found out that they were trying to find a small place out here where, it is said, that naturists gather in the summer time. Someone with a sense of humour sent them to a sort of scrap yard cum junk heap where they had an unpleasant interview with the owner – who is… Read more »
Sandor
Guest

My dear Ondin, (or perhaps my dear eye?)
I am afraid you may have missed the irony.
The mass rally had about 50-60 attendees, the true copy of the crown was a cheap imitation, on the stage three chaps were standing in capes eerily resembling the Ku Klux Klan garb and an opera singer performed out of tune.
To boot, the main speaker’s name was Batu and Morvai’s speach was unalloyed garbage.
And yet…

Sandor
Guest

Well, Eva, isn’t it reassuring that the present day Batu took it upon himself to put right the transgressions of his name sake and redeem the Nation?
He so cute!

Sandor
Guest

Te Jo Eg! How can you doubt that the copy was “true?”
Would this earnest saviours of the Nation fool themselves with a false copy? Or, horror of horrors, perhaps swear onto a copy of a copy?
Certainly not! It was a real and veritable copy of the first order. Or even worse yet, could they have had the original? No. It was truly a copy.
Give up your malicious allusions.

Sandor
Guest

Eva, the answer is coming from Karinthy:
Batukam, tatukam.

Odin's lost eye
Guest

@Sandor
A thousand pardons!
Living as I do in the boondocks I am unaware (and do not really want to know about them) of the Parades, Holding of ‘High Wassail’ (P’ups), and other Junketings in Budapest. I dislike cities, I like the loneliness of the sea but now I am too old withered and bent to handle a ‘tall ship’ even if I have a star to steer her by! So I live out here
I hate discrimination of all kinds. As a young man I lead in ‘hot actions’ men of most races, colours, creeds, and sexual persuasions. They were ‘my folk’ and I was responsible for them. It was my duty to take good care of them. Equally I detest those who are intolerant and discriminate.
Take a person at face value untill they prove to be otherwise

Kevinvt
Guest

“In perhaps all of the former Soviet bloc countries, homosexual acts even among consenting adults were punishable offenses”
— Not true! Sodomy was legalized in Czechoslovakia and Hungary in 1961!!!

wpDiscuz