Transgender couple wed in Hungary, land of growing homophobia

by Reuters
Friday, 6 November 2020 15:22 GMT

Hungarian transgender couple, Elvira Angyal and Tamara Csillag, pose for a picture after their wedding in Polgardi, Hungary, November 6, 2020. In Prime Minister Viktor Orban's increasingly homophobic regime, gay people are barred from marrying while transgender people have been denied legal recognition – ironically enabling Agyal, who completed her legal transition to become a woman, to marry Csillag, who has been stuck with male documents but still lives as a woman. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

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Trans couple mark 'dream come true' as many face a growing struggle to marry in the face of official hostility to LGBT+ people

By Bernadett Szabo and Balazs Kaufmann

POLGARDI, Hungary, Nov 6 (Reuters) - The wedding of Hungarian transgender couple Tamara Csillag and Elvira Angyal looked just like any other, with the nervous pair dressing up and heading off to the rural Hungarian court room where their marriage would be sealed.

But in the world of nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, this was special as Orban, increasingly hostile to LGBT+ people, has outlawed legal recognition of transgender identity.

Ironically, that made the wedding possible, as Csillag was stuck with male documents while Angyal had already completed her transition and had the documents to prove it.

"Our dream has come true. We are so happy to have received an official seal on our relationship," Angyal said after the ceremony, holding hands with her new wife.

She kissed her and said: "I love you."

"I love you back," Csillag said.

Theirs was far from a smooth journey. Both had families as men before coming out to live as women. Of seven children between them, only one, Angyal's son Patrik, was present.

"One of the biggest joys in life is to see your parents happy," Patrik said.

Hungarian transgender couple, Elvira Angyal and Tamara Csillag, celebrate their wedding at the city hall in Polgardi, Hungary, November 6, 2020. In Prime Minister Viktor Orban's increasingly homophobic regime, gay people are barred from marrying while transgender people have been denied legal recognition – ironically enabling Agyal, who completed her legal transition to become a woman, to marry Csillag, who has been stuck with male documents but still lives as a woman. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

Rights groups say Orban and his political allies, the small Christian Democratic party KDNP, have targeted the gay community since he won a third term in 2018.

"For a decade the government has waged a systematic campaign against LMBTQ people," said Luca Dudits of the Hatter rights group. "This contradicts European norms and general human rights."

The wedding came one day after Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen renewed homophobic attacks with a proposal to enshrine in the country's constitution a ban on "gender propaganda".

"They should not be called family, because that is a sacred notion," Semjen said. "They should not adopt children, because children's right to healthy development is stronger than homosexual couples' need for a child."

Csillag said she was confident enough for such legal moves and propaganda not to shake her.

"What harms children is what the government does," she said. "The next generation might indeed grow up haters. They will hate us even as they won't know why."

(Additional reporting and writing by Marton Dunai, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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