Hungary is on a collision course with the EU over transgender ideology

By Jonathon Van Maren

Hungary is on track for another clash with the European Union—and once again, the fight is over transgender ideology. In 2020, the Hungarian parliament passed a ban on changing one’s gender on identification, with the country’s Constitutional Court ruling the following year that the law does not apply retroactively, meaning that any person who applied to change their gender legally prior to May 29, 2020, were able to continue that process. Recently, however, the Constitutional Court upheld their previous ruling—and, implicitly, the ban—by rejecting a petitioner’s plea to have a 2021 application for a gender change. 

The Constitutional Court cited a series of practical reasons, including the fact that someone’s sex is relevant in healthcare as well as in judicial or criminal proceedings. In response, the Hungarian LGBT group Háttér Society plans to subvert Hungarian sovereignty entirely by taking the case up to the European Court of Human Rights to take advantage of “an emerging norm across Europe to eliminate barriers to legal gender recognition, not create them as Hungary has.” According to the Háttér Society’s legal director Eszter Polgári“The Hungarian government’s practice sanctioned by the Constitutional Court is one of total disenfranchisement.” 

The Háttér Society believes that precedents such as a 2002 case in which the European Court of Human Rights found that refusing to change ID documents in the U.K. could be “discrimination and violate the right to privacy” as well as a 2003 German case supporting “the applicant’s freedom to define herself as a female person” was “one of the most basic essentials of self-determination” will buttress Hungarian precedents such as a 2018 Constitutional Court ruling permitting transgender people to identify how they choose. The LGBT group hopes that the E.U. will thus impose its will on Hungary, where the socially conservative prime minister Viktor Orban recently secured a fourth term in a landslide.

One suspects that the E.U. will be eager to go head-to-head with Hungary on gender ideology once again. In December, Hungarian reps clashed with delegates from other nations at the U.N. Biodiversity Conference over recognizing a range of genders in formal documents—another skirmish over an increasingly divergent approach to transgender ideology, which has been accepted by many international bodies and enshrined into law by many Western countries. When Hungary banned LGBT propaganda targeted at kids—a very popular policy—the E.U. lashed out with a rare joint condemnation, with Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte stating “my goal is to bring Hungary to its knees” and French president Emmanuel Macron stating that the E.U. should show “no weakness” in confronting Hungary.  


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