Hungarian LGBT activist among Time’s 100 most influential
An academic and LGBT activist in Hungary is among the 100 most influential people in the world, according to Time magazine, for her work on a children’s book that sparked a human rights debate in the central European country .
“It’s an honor. Obviously, it’s really gratifying to be one of these 100 amazing people,” Dorottya Redai, a researcher at the CEU Democracy Institute in Budapest and activist for the Labrisz Lesbian Association.
The magazine included Redai on its annual TIME100 list last month to honor his efforts to advance LGBT rights in Hungary, where recent actions by the country’s right-wing government have been called an attack on lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender.
At the center of Redai’s recent work, she edited the publication of “Meseorszag Mindenkie” (“Fairy Land is for Everyone”), a children’s book that tells classic fairy tales. The book features children with disabilities, Roma, LGBT protagonists and members of other minority groups as characters.
According to Redai, who helped coordinate and recruit the 17 authors who contributed to the tales, the book was intended to “tackle social issues in a digestible way for young children” and provide parents and teachers with a tool to discuss. difficult subjects like children. neglect, the death of a parent, adoption and poverty.
But its publication sparked a backlash in Hungary. A week after the release of “Fairyland is for Everyone”, a politician from a far-right party ripped pages from a copy and shredded them, calling the book “gay propaganda”.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban said of the book in a radio interview that Hungary is a “tolerant and patient” country when it comes to LGBT people, but there is a “red line: leave our children alone”.
“It was really like a tsunami of media and politicians saying really unimaginable things about how we corrupt children,” Redai said. “The book was immediately labeled an LGBT book, which it really isn’t.”
The outcry also made the book a bestseller in Hungary, Redai said, and led international publishers to seek to publish editions in many other languages.
However, the difficulties in Hungary were not over. In January, a government office in Budapest ordered the book’s publisher to place a disclaimer on titles that “display patterns of behavior that differ from traditional gender roles.”
Then, in June, the Hungarian parliament passed a law banning the “portrayal or promotion” of homosexuality and gender reassignment in documents accessible to minors under the age of 18.
This law, along with new regulations passed in August, mean that “Fairyland is for everyone” must appear on store shelves in opaque packaging and cannot be sold within 200 meters (650 feet) of a school or a church.
Last month, a mayor of a small town near Budapest ordered the book to be removed from a local library, citing controversial regulations.
Redai’s efforts to publish and defend the storybook collection make her a “symbol of courage” in a “hostile societal environment,” wrote Terry Reintke, German member of the European Union parliament and co-chair of his LGBTI intergroup , in problem TIME100.
“This work shows so well how colorful life is. It makes young people believe that – no matter who you are – there is a fairy tale waiting for you, this is your life, ”Reintke wrote.
Redai said she hoped her placement on the magazine’s list “would encourage LGBT people who aren’t necessarily activists to say,” You are not alone, the whole world is watching you, so you should hold on.