• Hithesh Jain

Hungary Parliament legally bans citizen from changing gender

Anupama Ratheesh

8th October 2020

Prime Minister Viktor Orban at a Parliament meeting(Source- Tamas Kovacs/Agence France-Presse)

Budapest- Hungary’s Parliament has banned people from legally changing their gender in a move which has generated panic among trans people — who fear an increase in discrimination and attacks. Members voted with – 134 votes in favour and 56 votes against — to define gender based on ‘sex at birth,’ as registered on a birth certificate.

According to the Draft Bill passed in the Hungarian Parliament, the birth gender, once recorded, cannot be changed. This act of contempt for the rights of the transgender community flies in the face of the European Convention on Human Rights case-law. In the year 2003, the court found that Germany had failed to respect an applicant’s freedom to ‘define herself as a female person, one of the essentials of self-determination.’ The government’s communications office said, “The state’s decision to register children’s biological sex in their birth certificates does not affect men’s and women’s right to experience and exercise their identities as they wish freely”.

Miklos Szantho, director of the Center for Fundamental Rights — a government-aligned think tank in Budapest — said the purpose of the law was to‘fill a legal gap and remove most of the uncertainty about legal interpretation.’ However, a European Commission spokesman mentioned that while theMember States ensure that their laws comply with obligations like the European Convention on Human Rights, conditions and procedures for legal gender recognition will fall outside European Union law’s scope.

Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban — in power since 2010 — was re-elected in 2018 and promised to ‘build a new era’ with significant cultural changes in the ex-communist country.

The BBC reported that transgender people and the human rights groups say that this draft bill is the latest blow in the war declared by the conservative-nationalist government against anyone who does not fit into their definition of a family. Furthermore, A speaker from the Parliament has equated gay adoption with pedophilia.

In an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundationregarding the draft bill, Tine KorlosOrbanm— Vice President of the advocacy group Transvanilla Transgender Association — said, “We have absolutely no words to describe what we feel”.

(Sources: CNN, BBC, NY Times, Central News Now)

Edited by: Sravanthi Neralla

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