Budapest Pride!

The “Happy Glitter Gang” wear their pride on their cheeks. The rights of those who are LGBTQ are human rights and on this day in Budapest, Hungary, there was a joyful celebration affirming those rights.

The celebration of Pride in Budapest, Hungary was not just demonstrated by individuals, but also multinational corporations, with all proclaiming their support for the rights and choices of others.

When we stand alongside people who might be different from us, we recognize the humanity in all of us. And when multinational corporations embrace those differences, it makes them more inclusive, and the world a better place for all of us.

Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer is not a choice. People are who they are. Hungary, like every nation on Earth, has citizens who are LGBTQ. But Hungary’s current heavy-handed rulers, the Fidesz party, make life difficult for many, including those in the LGBTQ community. But make no mistake, pride runs deep in Budapest.

As thousands gathered in the square in front of the Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest, there was joy and celebration. And in the age of smartphones, few things better memorialize a happy moment than a group selfie.

Pre-march festivities featured music and speakers, and were covered by media.

These two women were happy to be among the thousands who gathered to proclaim their support and respect for the rights of the LGBTQ community.

On a balmy day in June 2017 thousands of people assembled at the square in front of the Hungarian Parliament. Cisgender and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and intersex all mingled and accepted each other as they listened to music, speeches, and efforts to better understand what it is to be gay in Hungary. In addition to individuals, and activist groups, the march was attended and supported by a number of multinational corporations, and also personnel from a number of foreign embassies in Budapest.

The sign on these flags conveys a simple but powerful message. It translates into English as “Dialogue.” Speaking to understand, as opposed to shouting to drown out, is a critical step in accepting the commonality in all of us.

The flags from different nations supporting LGBTQ rights in Hungary is a powerful statement that being inclusive is recognized throughout the world and can unite us all. The Hungarian words “Velünk teljes” roughly translate into English as “Complete with us.”

Fear, intimidation, and repressive laws are tactics often used by heavy-handed political regimes, and Fidesz, Hungary’s ruling party since 2010, has displayed a pattern and practice of demeaning and vilifying various groups. LGBTQ, Jews, liberals, Roma (pejoratively referred to as Gypsies), philanthropic groups like the Open Society Foundations (founded by George Soros), and others, have endured the ridicule and harassment of Fidesz.

This pair, dressed as sailors, display their affection as they pay homage to an iconic moment from American history. (Often referred to as “VJ Day Kiss” it was a jubilant celebration of the end of hostilities of World War II.) Perhaps this happy moment harkens an easing of the difficulties that LGBTQ people in Hungary endure.

Non Governmental Organizations, like Amnesty International, carry out essential work around the world to help those who are oppressed and downtrodden. A contingent of supporters showed their support for LGBTQ rights in Hungary.

“Soros” may be just one word, but in Hungary, the name George Soros is an important and complex story. Soros is a Hungarian-born Jew who survived German occupation of Hungary during World War II. He would go on to amass billions of dollars in wealth, and he created the Open Society Foundations to which he has donated at least $32 billion. Open Society Foundations has programs and offices in more than three dozen countries and promotes justice, education, public health, and independent media. Open Society Foundations was a major source of funding for Central European University that was headquartered in Budapest until it was driven from Hungary in late 2019 (it is now headquartered in Vienna, Austria). Soros is a frequent enemy of Fidesz.

Fidesz follows the dictates of party leader and prime minister, Viktor Orbán and promotes a governmental system known as “illiberal democracy.” In reality it is an authoritarian and hard right regime that uses the Hungarian courts and legislature to wedge Hungary further to the right. The revised Hungarian Constitution proclaims Hungary as a “Christian nation,” which makes life difficult for Jews and Muslims, along with those mentioned earlier.

What is this small boy in the center of the photo wondering? Is he troubled so many LGBTQ people have gathered in one place? Is he afraid those who are “different” will undermine the safety and security of Hungary? Or perhaps is he appreciating the joy and happiness of thousands who have gathered to celebrate and stand unified for the importance of respecting everyone.

There were thousands of different people gathered together, but they were of one mind — LGBTQ rights in Hungary are human rights that need to be recognized and protected.

A moment of affection between a woman and man, as they each hold the flag that symbolizes the rights of the LGBTQ community. This tender moment is their testament to each other, and the rights of others.

There were many signs and placards carried that day, but all the messages could be summed up in three powerful words, “Love is Love.”

A last-minute point of contention between rally organizers and Hungarian authorities that day was that marchers would not be allowed to cross the Chain Bridge, the iconic structure that spans the Danube and connects Buda with Pest. But the assemblage would not be cowed.

Budapest Pride parade organizers were determined the celebration would include a walk across Chain Bridge, the iconic structure that spans the Danube River and links Buda and Pest. A man carrying an American flag is part of that days cast of thousands.

For the throng that gathered that day, it was a celebration of differences, a recognition that acceptance is a powerful bond to unite people, and that nations around the world understand that inclusion is a pathway to progress.

The strength of humanity is accepting the idea that while someone may not be just like us, we are all human beings and have a basic human right to be who we are.

The flag of Great Britain, the Union Jack, was one of many flags representing pride and support for LGBTQ rights.

It was a peaceful, joyful day that went off without incident. A day when Pride shined like a beacon in Budapest.

The sign by the woman, right, reminds us that society’s judgements can often be the root of disagreement. The smiles of those around her show the joy, acceptance, and love that was a major element of that day in Budapest.

The Budapest Pride march was a clear statement that while those in the LGBTQ community are not the majority of the Hungarian population, protecting their rights is essential to ensure a free and open society.

Those who are members of the LGBTQ community often face harassment and ridicule from government and conservative elements of society. This man makes clear that he is standing with pride about how people should be allowed to live their lives.

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