Transgender  LGBTQ+ Movement 

Trans activists challenge law banning gender recognition in Hungary, burn birth certificates

Nimisha  |  May 29 2020

Trans activists challenge law banning gender recognition in Hungary, burn birth certificates

A new law in Hungary seeks to hamper all efforts for legal recognition of trans and intersex people, to protect "culture"

Hungarian trans activists are challenging a new law in court that bans people's right to legal recognition of their gender identity.

Hungary bans recognition of trans people for 'legal clarity'

The Hungarian government led by Victor Orban has successfully led the passing of a draconian law earlier this week, that will now view sex assigned at birth as fixed and permanent, and will allow no room for change on documents later.

Gergely Gulyás, a minister in the government declared, "the bill that you protest against creates legal clarity in harmony with the constitution.”

The bill for the same, ironically, was introduced in Parliament (where Orban enjoys 2/3rd majority) on 31st March - the International Day of Transgender Visibility.

The law, citing "biological sex based on primary sex characteristics and chromosomes" as the permanent criteria, puts the identity and existence of many transgender and intersex people in a fix.

This comes amidst a series of measures taken to protect the 'cultural ethos' of the country, by passing restrictive laws on religion, high school education, theaters, etc.

It is (not) surprising to note that what is seen to be 'protecting culture' is taking the form of exerting control and hegemony during a pandemic, with an aim to capture all voices of dissent, including those of non-binary people.

Trans activists challenge the horrific imposition

Activists in Hungary are not only taking this to court, but transgender people are burning their birth certificates to protest the governmental ban on legal gender recognition.

Trans rights organisation, Transvanilla, in Hungary have noted the repurcussions of such a move on their website:

"Without name and gender recognition stigmatisation is engrained in every aspect of life, often resulting in the trans person’s exclusion from meaningful participation in social and economic life."

One of the largest LGBTQI organisations in Hungary, Háttér Society in their statement have called on Hungary's ombudsman for Human Rights, Ákos Kozma, to initiate the nullification of the law via the Constitutional Court.

Not only does the law propagate and enforce the gender binary, or the idea that there can only exist two genders, it puts the fate of intersex people also in a dilemma.

Transvilla has taken the case of two trans people to the top court in a bid to win the battle for changing their legal gender. This move not only ensures legal erasure of non-binary people, but also promotes a sex-discriminating environment which will further stigmatize those who do not follow the norm.

Resist and agitate!

Homophobia and Transphobia is a reality, with the ILGA Rainbow-Europe Map Index showing that Hungary fell from the 19th to the 27th rank in just one year, and also highlighting hate speech by politicians and attacks on LGBTQI events.

This Pride month, we can all hope to resist such impositions, and compel the government to take this law back, and for all non-binary people to win the fight to recognition.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Hungarian Psychological Association, the Equal Treatment Authority, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, 63 Members of the European Parliament, the European Parliament, among others, have denounced this law.

I stand in solidarity with Hungarian trans and intersex people and call out the Hungarian government to provide them opportunity to get their real gender legally recognized!


This is a time-sensitive story and will be updated with new developments. Keep checking this page for the same.

Photo by Teddy Österblom on Unsplash


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