Thousands of Hungarians gathered for the annual Budapest Pride on Saturday, transforming the event into a protest against the government’s stance on LGBTQ+ rights.

This year’s march drew significant attention due to mounting criticism of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s policies. Since coming to power in 2010, Orbán has enacted a series of Christian-conservative measures, including a 2021 law banning the “promotion of homosexuality” to minors. This law has faced severe backlash from human rights groups and the European Union.

Participants in the Pride march emphasised the importance of their visibility. “It’s crucial to be here… to show that we exist and that we matter,” said 30-year-old marcher Anna Réti.


She highlighted the discrimination and hostility that many LGBTQ+ Hungarians face in their daily lives. “Recently, I wore rainbow accessories in public, and people stared at me,” she shared.

Hungary does not recognise same-sex marriages, and adoption rights are restricted to heterosexual couples. The Orbán administration amended the constitution to define marriage strictly as a union between one man and one woman, thereby limiting adoption rights for gay individuals.

The government maintains that the 2021 law is intended to protect children and is not aimed at the LGBTQ+ community. Nevertheless, the legislation has raised widespread concern among gay, bisexual, and transgender Hungarians.

Last year, several bookstores were fined for selling books depicting homosexuality without plastic wrapping, as required by the law. Additionally, a museum director was dismissed for allowing under-18s to view an exhibition featuring LGBTQ+ content at the World Press Photo event.

In the lead-up to Saturday’s march, embassies from the US, Germany, and 33 other countries urged Hungary to protect LGBTQ+ rights and repeal discriminatory laws. US Ambassador David Pressman was among the diplomats who joined the Pride parade.

“This is an amazing country with a rich history of people standing up and fighting for freedom. The marchers today are continuing that proud tradition,” he told reporters.

The embassies of more than three dozen countries, including Ukraine, released a joint statement before the 29th Budapest Pride, expressing solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and condemning its persecution in Hungary.