Pride and left wing intertwined in a bid to gain some popularity

In line with the expectations of the international liberal mainstream, many left-wing politicians participate in the annual Budapest Pride, which has grown into a month-long series of events since 2018. The biggest event of the gay subculture and the LGBTQ community is enthusiastically supported by David Pressman, US Ambassador to Hungary, who played a key role at the launch of this year's Pride Month.

2023. 07. 11. 16:46
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The 28th Budapest Pride Parade will be held on Saturday, with well-known figures of the Hungarian left gladly joining the march every year, hoping to gain some popularity by taking part. Although the link between left-wing politicians and sexual minorities is not a new phenomenon, in recent years there has been a growing intertwining between the parties. The agendas of left-wing political parties often show some indications of the influence of LGBTQ lobbies and organisations, and as a token of their support they also attend various LGBTQ events such as the Budapest Pride, the first lesbian parade in Budapest or te LGBTQ History Month.

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Left-wing politicians of the Momentum Movement at the Pride

Left-wing politicians attending the Pride Festival

Of course, it was no different in the early 2000s, when the gay and lesbian events, gay and lesbian cultural and film festivals, and later the LGBT festivals, the predecessors of the Budapest Pride, were regularly opened by leading politicians of the Socialists (MSZP) and the Free Democrats (SZDSZ), with the few-day-long events usually hosted by the Budapest Muvesz Cinema, the Balint House and the Central European University (CEU). The festival has grown in size from year to year, and since 2018 it lasts for a month every year, with events now also held in larger towns across Hungary.

However, the biggest event of the month-long Pride continues to be the parade, where all left-wing parties are represented, in line with the expectations of the international liberal mainstream.

In the past few years the Pride Parade was attended by politicians from the Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog Party; Agnes Kunhalmi, Ildiko Lendvai and Zita Gurmai from the Socialists;  Andras Fekete-Gyor, Gabor Kerpel-Fronius, Anna Donath, and Katalin Cseh from the Momentum Movement;  Klara Dobrev, Sandor Ronai and Laszlo  Sebian-Petrovszki from the Democratic Coalition (DK); Timea Szabo, Bence  Tordai, and Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony of the Dialogue for Hungary Party. The role taken by Jobbik is interesting: despite its complete change of direction and drawing closer to the left-wing alliance, Jobbik politicians have for long stayed away from the event. Two years ago, however, Miklos Berecki, Jobbik's municipal representative in Budapest's district 23, proudly participated. Later, he told the Index portal that many things had changed in the past few years, including his opinion. 

What did left-wing politicians say at Pride festivals?

In 2021, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony delivered a speech, saying it's his duty to be out there at pride, because he is a servant of Budapest, and if someone is being hurt in this city or country, he wants to be a shield, the target instead of others. And now the gay community is the target. "I'm a politician, this is included in my salary, and I'm always the one to blame anyhow. And now the gay community is the target, the mayor of Budapest said. As a show of support, every year the rainbow flag, the symbol of the LGBTQ community, is flown on the facade of the City Hall, hoping that one day it will be as natural as the love between two people. The mayor also welcomed the 28th Budapest Pride Festival with this gesture, stressing that Pride is a joyful celebration of love and freedom. Unlike Gergely Karacsony, Budapest's former mayor had a completely different approach to the event.  Istvan Tarlos did not ban it, but he saw no point in the parade. In 2015, the former city leader spoke about Pride on a programme called Mokka on  TV2 channel, saying for example

This whole phenomenon is unnatural and repulsive to me. They can march, but I don't really understand what the point is. This is inappropriate in the setting of Andrassy Road.


Like Gergely Karacsony, Bernadett Szel also spoke at the Pride in 2021. The former co-chair of the green LMP Party, who takes part in the parade every year, criticised the government, saying that the biggest threat to the oppressive power - which has no human face - is posed by free people living in peace with themselves and others. "I am convinced that the way they treat women in politics today stems from the same roots as the way they treat minorities. They don't want us to become visible, they don't want us to claim a place for ourselves, to stand up for ourselves and for each other. We appear strange to them. We are strange because we are different from them," she stressed.

David Pressman, the patron of homosexuals

The LGBTQ movement is also supported by the parliamentary group called For a Diverse Hungary - MPs for the LGBTQ Community, made up of lawmakers from left-wing parties, aiming to ensure that LGBTQ communities are not discriminated against and can live freely in Hungary. Also noteworthy is the lobbying work of the US Ambassador to Hungary, who has spoken out for the LGBTQ community in Hungary on numerous occasions since his appointment.

US Ambassador David Pressman also participated in the opening event of the 28th Budapest Pride festival. He delivered a lengthy speech criticising the Hungarian government, comparing the Child Protection Act adopted in 2021 to the Holocaust and the majority of Hungarians to mortar, whose silence keeps together the wall of hate. On the occasion of Pride Month, the diplomat, who has been in a same-sex relationship for 22 years, rallied well-known Hungarians who openly admit their identity - including Peter Ungar,  LMP Party co-chair, Laszlo Sebian-Petrovszki, party director of the Democratic Coalition, and Richard Barabas, Budapest district 11 deputy mayor of the Dialogue Party, to recognise those who work for the visibility, equality and human rights of Hungarians, he said.

Cover photo: Agnes Kunhalmi and Bence Tordai (Photo: Origo)

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