Budapest pride festival gets under way

The events which will conclude on July 3 are organised by the Szivarvany Misszio (Rainbow Mission).

The organisation’s head, Szilvia Nagy, called for political discourse not to be abusive, humiliating or degrading. She also expressed hope that the government spokesman would acknowledge Pride week.

Rather than fencing off Pride marchers, the police should keep the handful of disruptors away from them, she added.

At the New Orleans Club on Friday evening, a letter of greeting by the ombudsman for fundamental rights, Laszlo Szekely, was read out to the crowd. In it he said that LGBTQ people, like other minorities, were integral and valued members of society.

Sexual orientation and gender identity are essential aspects of someone’s personality, and there is a need to put these aspects under special protection, he added in the letter.

Society can only be whole if people can be open about essential features of their personality rather than concealing them due to the stigmas attached to these by the mainstream, Szekely added.

A commemoration of the victims of the recent shooting in Orlando was held at Friday’s event.

Participants included Ilan Mor, Israel’s ambassador, Gabor Fodor, leader of the Liberal Party, Viktor Szigetvari, leader of the Egyutt party, Andras Schiffer, former leader of the LMP party, Bernadett Szel, LMP’s leader, Agnes Kunhalmi, the Socialist Party’s Budapest chapter head, Timea Szabo, co-leader of the Dialogue for Hungary party, as well as several representatives of embassies.

The programme for the week includes concerts, exhibitions, theatre shows, dance lessons, a run round Margaret Island and a picnic, as well as games and discussion roundtables.