Hungary: Gov. orders gay content disclaimers on books

‘Wonderland is for everyone’ Budapest, Hungary October 8, 2020 – Image: REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

(Reuters) – Hungary’s government, which has made hostility to LGBT people a central part of its right-wing agenda, ordered a publisher on Tuesday to print disclaimers, identifying books containing “behaviour inconsistent with traditional gender roles”.

The government said the action was needed to protect consumers from being misled, after Labrisz, a Lesbian group, published a fairytale anthology, ‘Wonderland Is For Everyone’, which included some stories with gay themes.

The book, whose authors say it is intended to teach children to be respectful of people of all backgrounds, features a tale of a doe who is granted a wish to become a buck, and a poem about a prince who marries another prince.

Other stories depict minorities in a positive light, including Roma and disabled people. The character Snow White, renamed Leaf Brown, has dark skin.

“The book is sold as a fairytale, called so on its cover and designed accordingly, but it hides the fact that it depicts behaviour inconsistent with traditional gender roles,” the Government Office in Budapest said in a statement.

The order requires Labrisz to put disclaimers on all its books with such content, including Wonderland Is For Everyone.

Labrisz and an allied gay rights group called Hatter said they would sue the government over the disclaimer requirement, which they called discriminatory and unconstitutional.

As in nearby Poland, Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, has adopted increasingly hostile rhetoric and policies towards LGBT groups in the past year.

Last year Hungary banned recognising transgender identities in official documents, and amended the constitution to declare that in a family “the father is a man and the mother is a woman”.

Orban’s homophobic politics suffered a setback in December, when a senior European Parliament lawmaker, from his Fidesz party, was caught fleeing a gay orgy in Brussels, in violation of pandemic restrictions and in possession of drugs.

-Marton Dunai @mdunai

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