The Hungarian version of Elle magazine decided to take a bold step. It put a single-sex couple with a child on the cover.
Hungary is one of the most homophobic countries in Europe. Conservative Prime Minister and leader of the right-wing Fidesz party Viktor Orban has been restricting the rights of the country's LGBT minority for years. It is precisely for this reason that the latest cover of Elle Hungary stirred controversy as it features a pair of gay dads with a child.
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Elle magazine explained it wanted to support the LGBT minority, which is discriminated against in Hungary.
Single-sex couple on the cover of a magazine
The couple, Hungarian restaurateur Hubert Hlatky Schlichter and his neurosurgeon husband László Szegedi, are pictured tenderly kissing their baby daughter Hannabel on the head, PinkNews reports.
"Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, caring and supportive environment and no one can prevent this based on 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 how they became 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 little girl 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!" reads Elle's post on Instagram.
"We hope that with our current issue, even if on a small scale, we will contribute to the acceptance of rainbow families, and that we will succeed in giving 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," - the post further reads.
A brave cover in a homophobic country
Life for gay couples in Hungary is very difficult and complicated. Since Viktor Orban took power, laws restricting the rights of the LGBT minority have been regularly introduced in the country. The leader of the right-wing Fidesz party has even amended the Hungarian constitution. It currently defines families as "based on marriage and the parent-child relation [whereby] the mother is a woman, the father a man".
In 2020, a law was passed that says that only people who are married can adopt children. This removes the possibility for same-sex couples to adopt children. Earlier this year Viktor Orban tried to push through a law that would enable citizens to report LGBTQ+ families to Hungarian authorities. Correcting gender is also officially banned in Hungary, making transgender people also feel excluded.
Moreover, schools in Hungary are forbidden to discuss topics related to the LGBT minority and books depicting queer themes must be wrapped in foil, PinkNews reports.
It turns out, however, that gay couples in Hungary do exist, and can live a happy life. Hubert Hlatky Schlichter and his husband László Szegedi, featured on the Elle cover with their daughter, are a case in point. Social media users show great support in the comments below the couple's post on Instagram. And who knows, maybe this will be a breakthrough moment for Hungarian society in general?