Style Living Self Celebrity Geeky News and Views
In the Paper BrandedUp Hello! Create with us Privacy Policy

Hungary ousts museum director for allowing minors to see Filipino LGBTQ+ photo exhibit

By Melanie Uson Published Nov 09, 2023 7:17 pm

Hungary’s National Museum director was fired for allegedly violating “child protection” law by allowing minors to see a photo exhibit that featured Filipino LGBTQ+ members. 

According to an Associated Press report, László Simon, who served as Budapest Museum chief for five terms since 2021, was fired by the government on Nov. 6 for allowing museumgoers under 18 to see a photo exhibition featuring images of Filipino LGBTQ+ members. The act was said to be a “promotion of homosexuality” to minors. 

The exhibition, dubbed Home for the Golden Gays, features works by Filipino photojournalist Hannah Reyes Morales for The New York Times. The collection was among the entries for the World Press Photo exhibition held in late October.

It showcased elderly queer Filipinos being cared for by the nonprofit organization of the same name. Home for the Golden Gays stage shows and pageants to raise money for their financial needs. 

In the photos, members are seen in their natural self, as well as prepping up for a drag show or beauty pageant. It won the category for Southeast Asia and Oceania.  

Home for the Golden Gays by Hannah Reyes Morales.

Home for the Golden Gays by Hannah Reyes Morales.

Home for the Golden Gays by Hannah Reyes Morales.

However, just a few days after its display, the exhibit earned backlash from the local community. Far-right political party Mi Hazánk (Our Homeland) filed a complaint, citing the 2021 child protection law that prohibits “display and promotion of homosexuality” in materials that can be accessed by minors.  

This law has long been under fire in EU nations and human rights groups as it “clearly discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, adding that it goes against EU’s fundamental values. 

János Csák, the minister for culture and innovation, explained on Monday that Simon was fired for failing to comply “with the legal obligations of the institution”. 

Simon, for his part, acknowledged their decision but stressed that he rejects it. “The museum did not deliberately violate any legislation by presenting the pictures of the World Press Photo exhibition”, he wrote on a Facebook post. He noted that they also complied with the instruction of putting an age restriction.  

“As a father and grandparent of four children, I strongly refuse that our children should be protected from me or the institution I manage,” he added. 

Before serving as the national museum director, Simon served as a former secretary of state for culture and member of parliament for Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party—a party that passed the controversial anti-LGBTQ+ law. 

Hannah earlier expressed her dismay over the backlash, stressing that her subjects are “not dangerous or harmful.” 

“What is harmful is limiting visibility for the LGBTQIA+ community, and their right to exist and to be seen,” she wrote. “I am beyond saddened that their story might not reach people who need it most, saddened that their story is being kept in a shadow,."