Budapest Pride – Love is love.
In 2020, Budapest Pride celebrates its 25th anniversary with the slogan: claim back your future. New to Pride marches? Interested in how the celebration of love, diversity and the demonstration for equal rights for LGBTQ+ people look like in Budapest? Read on to find out all the info you need on Budapest Pride, its history, its cultural background and how you can join in on the fun this year.
What is Pride?
Pride marches are different in every country, but in their core message they’re all the same. They celebrate the social and self-acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, and all other members of the rainbow community (LGBTQ+), as well as their achievements and legal rights. They draw attention to discrimination and social stigmas while promoting acceptance, tolerance and diversity. Pride usually consists of tons of minor events for weeks that culminate in the march itself. Since 1978, its primary symbol is the six-color rainbow flag.
Where does Pride come from?
Pride originates in the USA. In the 1950s and 60s the anti-gay legal system allowed the FBI to keep records of LGBTQ+ people, their friends and families, their whereabouts and their activities. They were collectively viewed as ’not to be trusted’, and homosexuality was considered a perversion and a political security risk.
Police raids against gay bars and arrests were routine affairs, but on 28 June 1969 everything changed. The LGBTQ+ community of Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Manhattan, New York decided to fight back against the police. The first Pride march was a commemoration of the Stonewall riots in 1970 in New York, and it soon became an annual event all over the world.
While at first it was purely about resistance and demonstration, over the years it evolved and dealt with important issues like the AIDS pandemic and marriage inequality. Pride marches are often seen as colorful parades, as a huge party – but at its heart, Pride is deeply rooted in activism.
History of Budapest Pride
It all started as a Pink Picnic in 1992, then went on to become a gay film festival in 1993, evolving into the first Pride march in Budapest in 1997 with about 300 people walking the streets.
Two years ago, it became a month-long festival with art performances, cinema screenings, workshops, roundtables, and countless other events, with the Pride march as its crown jewel, uniting more than 10,000 people on the streets of Budapest.
Why is Budapest Pride necessary?
While homosexuality was decriminalized in Hungary in 1961, sexual orientation is a legal and social issue to this day. Legally, LGBTQ+ people have been able to enter a registered partnership since 2008, however, same-sex marriage is banned, same-sex couples can’t adopt jointly, and access for IVF and donor insemination is only available for single women, not for women cohabiting or in a registered partnership.
Socially, Hungarians are much more dismissive of LGBTQ+ people than the average in the European Union, and that attitude is in line with the current right-wing government. Earlier this year the Hungarian parliament passed a law that prohibits people from legally changing their genders on their documents, stripping them from legal recognition.
Budapest Pride serves as a way to raise awareness about these inequalities, the lack of visibility and education concerning sexual diversity and understanding, while having a giant street party with thousands of people.
Budapest Pride in 2020
This year, due to COVID-19, Budapest Pride will only be a 10-day long festival between 14-23 August 2020, instead of its usual, one whole month of events and workshops. The Pride March itself will take place on Saturday, 22 August, followed by the largest LGBTQ+ party of the year, the Rainbow Party in Budapest Park, where the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters can celebrate the 25th Budapest Pride.
The route of the march usually takes visitors through the center of Budapest, however, the exact route is only published a few days before the event, when the police accept it. You can join the Budapest Pride march anywhere along the way, but it’s best to be there at the start. This way, you can find a truck where the music matches your taste, and there is always someone who is happy to paint rainbow flags on you.
The bottom line on Budapest Pride
Budapest Pride has changed a lot over the years. It kept its core values of social activism and its message about love, tolerance and self-acceptance, but it became a huge social event where you can dance through the streets of Budapest like no other day in the year. Whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community, or an ally who supports human rights, or just a curious spectator wanting to find out what all the fuss is about, Budapest Pride awaits you with open arms.
Their website [TA2] will always give you the most up-to-date info on the march and preceding events, so be sure to check it out, and get ready for an amazing festival this August. And if you can’t wait to find out about the gay scene in Budapest, you should pay a visit to gay bars or LGBTQ+ parties and get a taste.