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Hungarian Museum Director Sacked Over Gay Retirement Home Pics

Hungarian Museum Director Sacked Over Gay Retirement Home Pics

Hungarian National Museum Budapest Hungary
Image: Shutterstock

The World Press Photo Exhibition contained no nudity or explicit content, but detractors said it violated the country’s oppressive anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

The director of the Hungarian National Museum was fired over an international photo exhibit that one minister claimed violated the country’s harsh anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

Laszlo Simon was dismissed by Hungarian Culture and Innovation Minister Janos Csak after Simon reportedly refused to restrict access by minors to a World Press Photo Exhibition at the museum in Budapest. The exhibit included five photographs by Filipina photojournalist Hanah Reyes Morales chronicling the Golden Gays, a group of aging gay men living together in Manila who support their home through local drag shows.

“Minister János Csák informed me this morning that he fired me from the position of Director General of the Hungarian National Museum because in his opinion I sabotaged the Child Protection Act,” Simon said in a press release posted to his personal Facebook page. “I take note of the decision, but I cannot accept it. Presenting the images of the World Press Photo exhibition did not intentionally violate any laws by the museum.”

According to AFP, the far-right group Our Homeland lodged multiple complaints about the exhibit, saying it violated the country’s laws that ban sharing LGBTQ+ content with minors. The pictures in question contained no nudity, sexually explicit, or otherwise objectionable material, but the government ordered the exhibit to be restricted to adults. Lazslo said the museum could not comply and was subsequently fired.

In recent years, Hungary has taken a hard shift to the right and passed a series of laws aimed at the LGBTQ+ community. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his ruling Fidesz party, the country amended its constitution in 2019 to effectively prevent LGBTQ+ people from adopting children, codify a binary redefinition of family, restrict adoptions to married couples of a biological woman and man, and other discriminatory measures. The Hungarian parliament earlier used emergency powers to pass legislation stating only "sex assigned at birth" would be recognized in official documents.

In an ironic turn of events, Fidesz party cofounder Jozsef Szajer was briefly detained in 2021 trying to escape a gay orgy in Belgium by shimmying down a drain pipe after the party was broken up by police due to COVID restrictions at the time. Szajer was found to be in possession of the drug ecstasy when arrested.

According to the Daily Mail, police made a total of 20 arrests at the orgy where most guests disrobed upon arrival. But apparently, some of the partygoers thought the geared-up cops were part of the entertainment and tried to unzip the unsuspecting officers' pants.

“We don’t sit around drinking tea,” the unnamed host was quoted at the time. “People are here for sex.”

Szajer was not arrested but did resign from his official roles with the party and government a short time later.

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