In June, Hungary’s government passed a law that bans the portrayal of homosexuality and sex reassignment in the media, including TV shows, films, advertisements and educational programs. The law plans to stop any intended promotion of homosexuality for those under the age of 18.
Hungary’s decision to enact this law has caused some backlash from its neighboring European nations who, according to the Associated Press, believe the law breaches the rights of the LGBTQ+ community and even jeopardizes the future of democracy.
“I’m disappointed that this day in age, countries are still dictating how individuals can feel and express themselves,” said junior Kate Iannazzi. “One of the most basic fundamental rights that a person can have is their sexuality, and they’re taking away even the possibility of them exploring that.”
Some worry about how the law will affect the well-being of children.
“They won’t see it being normalized, so they’ll see it as a wrong feeling or identity, which it isn’t,” said junior Brianna Rossback.
Others have expressed concern for the freedom of arts and censorship in terms of creative and personal expression.
“From a media perspective, it brings up issues of freedom of speech and expression, but those are different in every country,” said Prof. Todd Barnes in the Master’s Film and Television program at Sacred Heart University.
Barnes has extensive experience in the film industry, and said that attempting to stunt creative freedom can be a difficult task, even when forged by the government.
“Any time governments try to ban anything, the kids want to get their hands on it more,” said Barnes. “Artists tend to respond to censorship with as much creative force as they can muster. It may end up as a problem for the government of Hungary more than anything.”
He also explained that restrictions in children’s lives should be directed by parents and that legal regulations such as this law block that ability.
“In my house we talk to our kids about everything we see in the world around us, and that includes lifestyles unlike our own,” said Barnes. “But we also shield them from explicit content of all kinds. In Hungary, we would have less choice as parents to make those decisions.”
Some students believe that members of the LGBTQ+ community should be portrayed within the media because it allows for understanding within the community.
“The media I believe is one of the best places for anyone to express who they are,” said sophomore Dyoe Hostin. “With this law being added, it takes away their platform to express all the issues that are going on in their community.”
Others believe representation is crucial in accepting the LGBTQ+ community.
“We have outcasted them from the world for too long,” said Hostin. “So, taking this away from them is a step backward rather than letting them be free like you and me.”