LGBTQ+ activist Viktória Radványi fights for Budapest Pride amid anti-gay legislation. Viktória Radványi, 26 didn’t know she was queer when she first started volunteering with Budapest Pride. It is an organization that provides LGBTQ+-centric programming, resources, and community in Hungary.
She had recently moved to Budapest from the Hungarian countryside. It is a small town of around 18,000 where the primary activity was going to pubs. She was searching for excitement, for belonging. Then, she happened to see that Budapest Pride was looking for volunteers, and she sympathized with what queer people in the country were up against. She shares,
“In retrospect, it makes a lot of sense [that I was queer]. Like why didn’t I choose, like, Greenpeace?” I really loved being there. It was a very warm feeling. I was asking every couple, where did you meet? I thought, ‘I’m being a very good ally.’ That’s what happened, and then it completely changed my life.”
Viktória explains all of this while laughing over a coffee in Budapest, the day before she’ll speak at the MTV EMAs as one of five LGBTQ+ activists named as Generation Change honorees. In partnership with the advocacy group All Out, MTV named Viktória, Amir Ashour, Matthew Blaise, Sage Dolan-Sandrino, and Erika Hilton as passionate young people working to serve their communities, a group of leaders striving to make a world that’s more equal for all.
In response to discriminatory laws, Budapest Pride and other organizations in the country have bolstered their advocacy efforts by partnering with other NGOs. “We all have very limited capacities, so we now have three workgroups that work on the censorship law but also on the ban on legal gender recognition, and the ban on adoption,” Viktória says. “We try to create legal cases, which is very, very hard. Because this censorship law has not been [widely enforced].”
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán took the opportunity to give a backhanded statement addressing the controversy. He said, “Hungarians are patient and tolerant of this phenomenon. We also take provocation well. But there is a red line that cannot be crossed. Leave our children alone!”
For Viktória, the school curriculum aspect is particularly harmful. “When I went to school, in biology class, there was one sentence about trans people. We heard that they exist, and we heard that there are certain surgeries that sometimes they go under. It was very dehumanizing, but it was there,” she remembers. “Now, it’s all gone.”
Meanwhile, Viktória’s work and that of her colleagues at Budapest Pride has continued on. She cares deeply about the organizational structure, and making sure Budapest Pride is as feminist and anti-racist as they declare it to be on paper.