(Photo via Elle Hungary/Instagram)
The September issue of fashion and culture magazine Elle Hungary features a prominent same-sex married couple with their infant child on the cover.
While seemingly innocuous, the photograph of Hungarian restaurateur Hubert Hlatky Schlichter and his neurosurgeon husband Laszlo Szegedi kissing their daughter Hannabel is in open defiance of the anti-LGBTQ+ government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
On June 15, 2021, a Hungarian law purportedly aiming at taking stricter action against pedophile offenders and amending certain laws to protect children was adopted. Some of the new provisions target and limit the access of minors to content and advertisements that “promotes or portrays” the so-called “divergence from self-identity corresponding to sex at birth, sex change or homosexuality.”
Orbán has been criticised by international human rights groups as discriminating against LGBTQ people with this law which European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called a “disgrace.”
Orbán, who has publicly proclaimed that he is a “defender of traditional family Catholic values,” has been criticized by international human rights groups as discriminating against LGBTQ people.
Publishing the cover on its Instagram account Sept. 4, Elle Hungary stated that the magazine’s intention was to “contribute to the acceptance of rainbow families” and help the publication to “campaign all over the country for love and all forms of family.”
(Translated from Hungarian):
Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, caring and supportive environment, and no one can prevent that because of their parents’ gender identity or sexual orientation.
On the cover of our latest issue, we present a Hungarian rainbow family: we can get to know the story of their becoming a family, their honest and loving everyday life with their little girl, Hannabell. Hubert Hlatky-Schlichter and Dr. László Szegedi confess honestly about the difficulties and prejudices they had to face as a gay couple at home and how fate-changing the arrival of their daughter was for them. With their story, we want to send a message to everyone who has felt that they or their loved ones have been attacked more recently: You are not alone, and there is a positive scenario!
We hope that with our current issue, even if on a small scale, we contribute to the acceptance of rainbow families, and manage to give inspiration, encouragement and support to the many thousands of readers who share the same values with us. The slogan of our cover page sums up our message beautifully: Born From Love, because families, regardless of their structure, are rooted in deep, unconditional love. Join the conversation by using the hashtag #BornFromLove to campaign for all forms of love and family across the country!
In the featured article written by Elle Hungary Editor-in-Chief Vivien Mádai that accompanies the cover, the couple discussed the division of parental roles, and candidly about discrimination they’ve faced in Hungary, particularly as they welcomed their infant daughter into the world.
PinkNewsUK noted that while a same-sex couple featured on a British or U.S.-based magazine would seem innocuous, in Hungary, it marks a landmark step for positive queer representation in the media.
On Instagram, the magazine’s comment section has been flooded with people celebrating the cover.
This past April, Hungarian President Katalin Novak vetoed a legislation that included a provision for citizens to anonymously report on same-sex couples who are raising children. In a rare departure from the policies of Orbán whom she generally supports, Novak returned the bill to Parliament telling lawmakers to strike that provision.
The country’s constitution states that the institution of marriage is “between one man and one woman,” and notes that “the mother is a woman, the father a man.”
This law’s passage and Novak’s veto came after the country’s Constitutional Court issued a ruling in February that will continue to block new applications from transgender people for legal gender recognition. The judgment effectively creates two categories of trans people in Hungary: those who applied early enough to pursue gender recognition and those who did not.
A spokesperson for the German government told the media earlier this year that Germany and France joined with other EU member states in the European Commission lawsuit over a Hungarian law which discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
The move by Elle to feature the gay couple on its cover follows a July incident where Hungary’s second-largest bookstore chain was fined for violating the nation’s 2021 law that limits the access of minors to books, media content and advertisements that “promotes or portrays” the so-called “divergence from self-identity corresponding to sex at birth, sex change or homosexuality.”
The chain was fined for selling copies of British author Alice Oseman’s LGBTQ graphic novel series “Heartstopper,” a global phenomena due to the runaway hit Netflix show based on her books in the series.
The Budapest Metropolitan Government Office fined Lira Konyv bookstore chain for placing the book series in its youth literature section, and for failing to place it in wrapped plastic packaging as required by the 2021 law.
The bookstore chain was fined 12 million forints ($33171.59.)
The French daily afternoon newspaper Le Monde reported that as a result, bookshops have decided that books deemed “sensitive” must be wrapped in plastic or moved them to the adult section, if they have not decided to refrain from selling them altogether.
The National LGBT Media Association represents 13 legacy publications in major markets across the country with a collective readership of more than 400K in print and more than 1 million + online. Learn more here: NationalLGBTMediaAssociation.com