Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who is known for his strongly conservative views, has lashed out against a new children’s book featuring homosexual characters, telling the publishers on Sunday to “leave our children alone”.
“Hungary has laws on homosexuality, which are based on an exceptionally tolerant and patient approach,” Orbán said in a public radio interview.
“But there is a red line not to cross,” he continued, castigating an “act of provocation”. “To sum up my opinion: leave our children alone,” he said.
Orbán was commenting about a manual published by an association of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community adapting famous tales and legends with characters from marginalised minorities such as those who are disabled, poor, Roma, and LGBT. For example, in one story Cinderella is lesbian, in another a dragon slayer is transgender.
A spontaneous civil society movement called for the book to be withdrawn from the market while extreme right-wing politician even tore up a copy at a press conference. However, this wave of reactions actually gave additional publicity to the book, which climbed to the top of sales charts.
Orban has often been under fire in EU quarters for intolerance towards minority rights. Last Spring, Budapest banned the registration of sex reassignment in the civil register and the legal recognition of the gender identity of transgender people, despite numerous international protests.
In September 2018, the European Parliament had activated a procedure under Article 7 of the Union Treaty for violation of EU values, which in theory can lead to sanctions.