Statement by the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

The legal and institutional frameworks of protection against discrimination have been well established for decades in Europe and Hungary. According to the case-law of the Constitutional Court, sexual identity, sexual orientation is an integral part of a colorful human personality, an immutable characteristic of the core of that personality, based on which no one shall be discriminated against.

On 17 May 1990, the General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders. However, as pointed out in a study published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights in 2016, the attitude to treat sexual orientation different from that of the majority as an illness, a mental disorder is still very widespread today. Almost half of the persons belonging to a sexual minority have already been subject to discrimination, verbal or physical abuse; in addition, they have to face, regretfully frequently, the everyday manifestations of prejudice. As the World Bank has pointed out, discrimination may result in exclusion, marginalization, which may lead to low socio-economic status and, ultimately, impoverishment. According to a study, more than 60 % of the workers in Hungary would prefer not to work together with persons belonging to a sexual minority.

Disclosing, expressing sexual identity is a fundamental right deriving from the right to human dignity; according to the case-law of the Constitutional Court, the protection of same-sex partnerships follows from the rights to human dignity, to self-determination, and to the free development of personality. Nonetheless, most of the persons belonging to sexual minorities have to live their lives hiding their true identity, often keeping their sexual orientation a secret even from those who are the closest to them.

As demonstrated above, clear legal regulation in itself, although indispensable, is not enough to create substantive equality. Awareness-raising, education, decisive action against stigmatization, unequivocal commitment to protecting the rights of sexual minorities are instrumental in creating a safe and inclusive social environment; to reach this objective, we all have got a lot to do.