In a move that is being criticised by human rights advocates both at home and abroad, the Hungarian Parliament voted to end legal recognition of transgender people by defining gender as being based on “sex assigned at birth” and no longer allowing citizens to legally change their gender identification or their name.
The Hungarian government defended the law, telling CNN in a statement that the law "does not affect men's and women's right to freely experience and exercise their identities as they wish.” The bill was proposed by the deputy prime minister on 31st March — International Transgender Day of Visibility. On Tuesday, all proposed amendments offered by opponents of the bill were declined and it passed with a vote of 134-56 (with four abstentions). The passing of the bill was made possible by the Fidesz party of right-wing prime minister Viktor Orbán.
But advocates did everything possible to stop this from happening. A few days after the bill was introduced, Amnesty International said they were concerned that the bill would “gravely violate transgender and intersex people’s rights.”
"In no way does the relevant section of the bill that some people criticise prevent any person from exercising their fundamental rights arising from their human dignity or from living according their identity, just as the state cannot normatively instruct anybody what to think,” the government’s statement to CNN said.
This rollback of rights for transgender citizens in Hungary is not unlike larger attacks the trans community is facing all over the world. In the U.S., states like South Dakota and Idaho have been introducing bills targeting trans youth. Some of these bills would do things like prohibit trans girls from competing in sports with cisgender girls, but others are even more serious, seeking to make it a crime to give minors gender affirming treatment like puberty blockers, which are standard care for trans affirming medical treatment. While the bill in South Dakota did not pass, Idaho’s two bills did.
These bills are dangerous, Chase Strangio, Deputy Director for Trans Justice, LGBT & HIV Project for ACLU told Refinery29 at the time, because they mark “the power of the government taking aim on trans lives and embedding in law a dangerous definition of sex designed to exclude trans, intersex and gender non-conforming people from participation in basic aspects of public life."
Amnesty International responded to the passing of the law on Tuesday with a statement, saying, “This decision pushes Hungary back towards the dark ages and tramples the rights of transgender and intersex people. It will not only expose them to further discrimination but will also deepen an already intolerant and hostile environment faced by the LGBTI community.”