The Hungarian Parliament has voted to ban trans and gender diverse persons from changing the gender assigned to them at birth in official documents. Rights organisations said that the new law puts transgender and intersex persons at considerable risk of harassment and violence.

Prime Minister Victor Orban’s right-wing Fidesz party, in the midst of the COVID-19 health crisis, pushed for the change in law that was passed in the Parliament by 133 votes to 57 on Tuesday.

The legislation, Article 33, makes changes to the civil registry document that forms the basis for all legal identity documents for citizens in the country. The “sex” marker is replaced by “sex assigned at birth”. According to rights organisations, this makes it impossible for trans and gender diverse persons to change the gender in their identity documents.

 

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The bill now goes to President Janos Ader, belonging to the Fidesz party, to be signed into law.  The proposed bill had led to an international outcry with social media posts using the hashtag #drop33.

“We are dismayed by this decision to roll back established rights,” said Masen Davis, Interim Executive Director of Transgender Europe. “Trans and intersex Hungarians, as all people in Hungary, should have their human rights equally protected and without discrimination.”

Katrin Hugendubel, Advocacy Director for ILGA-Europe, said that the new law makes transgender persons vulnerable to discrimination and harassment.

“Legal gender recognition is the bedrock of access to equality and non-discrimination for trans and intersex people. Without it, these populations are subject to immense stigma, discrimination, harassment, and violence every time they use their identity documents – be it at the bank, when going to the doctor, when applying for a job, or even when applying for a cell phone contract,” said Hugendubel.

 

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Hungary was one of the few European Union countries, where social acceptance of LGBTQI persons had decreased since 2015, according to the Eurobarometer.

Last week the 2nd LGBTI Survey published by EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency had found that 76% of trans persons in Hungary  believed that the government  “definitely does not effectively combat prejudice and intolerance against LGBTI people”. The EU average was 38%. Further, 84% of trans respondents in the country said the main reason for prejudice was the “Negative stance and discourse by politicians and/or political parties”.

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