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Hungary's government orders disclaimers on books with gay content

The country’s right-wing leaders have made hostility to LGBTQ people a central part of their agenda.
Image: FILE PHOTO: Annual Pride festival in Budapest
People take part in the annual Pride festival in Budapest, Hungary on July 6, 2019.Tamas Kaszas / Reuters file
/ Source: Reuters

BUDAPEST - Hungary's government, which has made hostility to LGBTQ people a central part of its right-wing agenda, ordered a publisher on Tuesday to print disclaimers identifying books containing "behavior 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 behavior 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 toward LGBTQ groups in the past year.

Last year Hungary banned recognizing 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.

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