But faced with backlash from EU leaders, Orbán simply sidestepped their concerns with an astonishing claim at a European Council summit last week.
“It’s not about homosexuality,” he said, according to the Independent.
“It’s about the kids and the parents.
“I am defending the rights of homosexual guys but this law is not about them.”
Hungary’s oldest LGBT+ campaign group Háttér Society called his words blatant “lies”.
Despite Orbán telling EU officials that there is “no law about homosexuality”, the bill in question references homosexuality six times, the group said.
“The truth is that the law passed two weeks ago makes explicit references to homosexuality… in the context of declaring that it is ‘prohibited to make available to children under the age of 18 any (…) content [which] promotes or portrays deviation from the self-identity in line with the birth sex, gender reassignment, and homosexuality’.”
Háttér Society debunked Orbán’s claims that he “protects” the rights of “gay guys”, in particular, noting that his voting record says it all.
Orbán has voted against anti-discrimination laws and same-sex adoption rights, and in favour of abolishing the Equal Treatment Authority, the nation’s equality watchdog.
The group also pointed to a survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights which found that 95 per cent of LGBT+ Hungarians feel the government has not tackled anti-LGBT+ hate.
Pope Francis invited a group of transpeople to the Vatican to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at Easter, it has been revealed.
The pontiff welcomed 50 people to the Vatican on 3 April to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and they returned later that month to receive their second dose, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski confirmed to theNational Catholic Reporter.
Trans people from a parish in Torvaianica were among those who travelled to the Vatican to receive vaccines after Krajewski reached out to local priest Fr Andrea Conocchia, who has been ministering to the local trans community for some time.
Others who were vaccinated as part of the initiative included volunteers, immigrants, refugees, struggling families and single parents.
Juan Carlos Cruz – a survivor of clerical sex abuse who was recently appointed to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors – told RNS that Vatican officials called Pope Francis for guidance when two buses from Torvaianica arrived as part of the vaccine initiative.
Absolutely vaccinate them!” Pope Francis said, according to Cruz. He claimed the pope went on to instruct officials to “ask for their names, ask for anything they need, but do not ask them about their sex.”
According to Conocchia, his trans parishioners reacted with “emotion” when they arrived at the Vatican to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Some of them are undocumented, meaning they are not eligible to receive vaccines under Italy’s health service.
Conocchia added: “They were moved to tears and felt remembered, having experienced once again and in a tangible way the closeness and tenderness of the pope’s charity.”
This is not the first time Pope Francis has expressed support for Italy’s trans community. In May 2020, as the world was rocked by the coronavirus pandemic, he donated funds to a group of trans sex workers who were struggling as a result of the pandemic’s economic fallout.
It was reported at the time that up to 20 trans women approached Fr Conocchia for help after their work was eradicated by COVID-19. Conocchia helped as many women as he could, but ultimately was unable to offer assistance to them all.
He subsequently wrote to Pope Francis appealing for help for his parish’s embattled trans community, and the pontiff gave the go-ahead for papal almoner Krajewski to sent money to the trans sex workers.
Catholic teaching remains firmly opposed to LGBT+ acceptance
LGBT+ Catholics will watch Pope Francis’s most recent charitable efforts with interest. The Catholic Church has historically been firmly opposed to any acceptance of queer people’s identities, and it still holds firm on its teaching that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered.
Furthermore, there was dismay among queer Catholics in 2019 when the Vatican issued a document that firmly rejected the existence of trans identities, claiming gender fluidity posed a threat to traditional family structures.
There was some hope that the Catholic Church would change its approach to LGBT+ people after Pope Francis became leader in 2013 – however, the Vatican has instead recommitted to its anti-LGBT+ policies and teachings.
Representatives from Northern Ireland’s six biggest political parties have committed to outlawing conversion therapy and improving access to trans healthcare.
Political figures convened virtually on Thursday evening (1 July) for the PinkNewsVirtual Summer Reception in Belfast, which was hosted in partnership with Citi and The Rainbow Project.
Leaders from across the political spectrum were questioned on their commitment to LGBT+ rights at the event by John O’Doherty, director of The Rainbow Project.
Kicking off the discussion, O’Doherty asked political leaders how much longer trans people in Northern Ireland will have to wait to access healthcare at home, referencing ongoing issues with the Brackenburn Clinic in Belfast.
Naomi Long, leader of the Alliance Party, said the trans community needs a service “that actually meets their needs, and that currently isn’t the case”.
Doug Beattie, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), drew attention to the high rates of depression and suicidal ideation experienced by trans people – but he pointed out that much of these issues are caused by lack of access to vital healthcare.
He also acknowledged that an ongoing review of trans healthcare in the region is taking too long.
“The trans community need to see light at the end of the tunnel,” he said, adding that he will encourage health minister Robin Swann to accelerate work on introducing a “fit for service” healthcare system.
Cllr Malachai O’Hara, deputy leader of the Green Party Northern Ireland, said trans youth are spending so long on waiting lists that they often become adults in the interim, meaning they then have to join a new waiting list.
He said the provision of trans healthcare in Northern Ireland has “gotten worse” in recent years and said the current service is “not fit for purpose”. O’Hara went on to criticise the parties in Northern Ireland’s Executive, saying they have given “years of platitudes” on trans healthcare but there has been “very little action”.
O’Hara went on to note that there are trans and non-binary people who are no longer alive because of a “failure to act” on healthcare.
Paula Bradley, deputy leader of the DUP, said the issue of trans healthcare comes up “time and time again”, but admitted that the problem has only “steadily gotten worse”.
A gay man who came out aged 90 has offered powerful words of advice to LGBT+ people who are still in the closet.
Kenneth Felts captured the hearts of queer people across the world in 2020 when he shared his story, proving that it’s never too late to come out.
Felts, who is from Colorado, knew he was gay when he was just 12 years old – but he pushed his feelings down and married a woman, not believing that living his truth was an option.
His coming out last year was ultimately a positive experience that allowed him to live his life openly and authentically.
Speaking directly to queer people who are still in the closet, Kenneth Felts told CBS New York: “You’ll be very surprised about the response.”
He continued: “The world is full of love, and you’re entitled to some of it, and people are going to give it to you if you take the chance, if you come out and say ‘here I am.’”
Kenneth Felts went on to reflect on his marriage to a woman, which he admitted “was not a good one”. He spent the entire marriage trying to appear as straight as he possibly could.
“It was just constant alertness,” Felt said. “I was being very careful and dressing very conservatively all the time because I never wanted people to know that I was gay. I didn’t want to be outed because I could lose custody of my daughter.”
It was ultimately a cancer diagnosis that spurred Felts on to start writing his memoirs, which helped Phillip swim back into focus.
He was Felts’ first love, and the pair had a vibrant, loving relationship before he left to marry a woman.
Tragically, he learned upon his coming out last year that Phillip had since died, meaning the men never got to reunite.
Despite the pain that came with that revelation, Kenneth Felts is still glad he came out when he did. Doing so has allowed him a greater freedom in his personal life.
“It was a huge experience of freedom. I wasn’t looking over my shoulder worried about who’s wondering if I’m gay or not,” he said.
Sadly, Felts decision to come out as gay during the coronavirus pandemic has meant that he can’t attend Pride marches and take a more active role in the LGBT+ community – however, he hasn’t let that stop him from celebrating his identity.
His Facebook page shows numerous images of him wearing a rainbow coloured hoodie, and he has raised funds for LGBT+ causes in the year since he came out.
A gay dad has emphatically shut down homophobes who think queer people shouldn’t be parents after his son qualified for the Olympics.
Jerry Windle is the proud father of Jordan Windle, a 22-year-old diver who recently qualified for the men’s diving team for the Tokyo Olympics.
Tragically, both of Jordan’s biological parents died when he was just a baby. Jerry later adopted him in Cambodia and nursed him back to health after he had suffered from malnutrition, scabies and intestinal parasites.
Jordan later started diving at the age of seven – and he is now set to achieve a lifelong dream of representing the United States at the Olympics.
“Although there have been some people who didn’t think a gay person could raise a well-balanced, mentally healthy child or should be allowed to raise children; our story is definitive proof that that assumption is purely wrong and is a fallacy,” Jerry told Queerty.
“Jordan is a humble, kind, generous, and nurturing human being who knows and believes all humans are created equal and every human being deserves to be happy, to love and be loved unconditionally – PERIOD.
For the most part, the diving community has been incredibly supportive of our family. In fact, I’ve had many of Jordan’s friends tell him that he had the best dad in the world – and I suppose I’m one of the ‘cool dads’!” he added.
Gay dad Jerry Windle reflected on the sacrifices his son made to achieve his dream
Elsewhere in the interview, Jerry reflected on the personal sacrifices Jordan has made to get to where he is today.
“He has worked tirelessly for 15 years chasing his dream; he has given up high school dances, prom, football games, homecoming, etc, to achieve his goal.
“I have never pushed Jordan in his sport. This has been his journey, and I am so proud to have been able to give him the opportunity, and to be there to support him.
“I never wanted Jordan to feel pressure from me as many athletes do. I’ve always supported his decisions as it relates to his journey chasing the Olympic Dream.”
The night of 9 September, 1982 started off like any other evening for Declan Flynn.
He went to Belton’s Pub in Donnycarney, Dublin with a friend – an establishment that was just a short walk from his home.
At 11.45pm that night, Flynn left the pub and set off on his walk home through Dublin’s Fairview Park, a well-known meeting spot for gay men. He stopped off at the Fairview Grill on his way home where he met with a male friend. Before continuing his journey, his friend kissed him on the cheek.
Shortly afterwards, he was violently beaten to within an inch of his life by a group of “vigilante” teenage boys who wanted to remove queer people from the park.
At around 1.45am, a badly-beaten Flynn was discovered in the park, with paramedics arriving on the scene just minutes later. He died shortly afterwards in Blanchardstown Hospital.
He was just 31-years-old.
Flynn’s death sent shockwaves through Ireland’s LGBT+ community – but anger reached a crescendo when the boys responsible for his death went before the courts.
One of the boys admitted that they went to the park as part of a “queer bashing” mission, boasting about having “battered about 20 steamers”.
“We used to grab them. If they hit back we gave it to them,” said Robert Alan Armstrong, then aged 18.
Despite this, all five boys walked free, with Mr Justice Seán Gannon telling them that Flynn’s killing “could never be regarded as murder”.
Gannon told the court: “One thing that has come to my mind is that there is no element of correction that is required. All of you come from good homes and experienced care and affection.”
Heartbreak in Ireland’s LGBT+ community quickly turned to fury – a rage that was compounded when the teenage killers held a “victory march” in Dublin after walking away with suspended sentences.
Flynn’s death galvanised the modern Pride movement in Ireland as LGBT+ people rose up and demanded that Irish society treat them with the respect they deserved. Between 400 and 800 queer people took to the streets shortly after the boys were given suspended sentences, marching from Liberty Hall through the city to Fairview Park in protest.
“When the judge let them off with suspended manslaughter sentences, essentially what it said to us was that a gay man’s life had no value,” Tonie Walsh, curator of the Irish Queer Archive, told drag queen Panti Bliss on her radio show Pantisocracy.
That march, Walsh said, was “the first large-scale massing of lesbians and gay men in Ireland”.
“We were angry and fearful at the same time. And the only good thing that came out of all that misery was we funnelled all that anger into Ireland’s first proper Pride parade three months later, when 150 of us walked down newly pedestrianised Grafton Street.”
On 25 June, 1983, protesters marched through the streets from Stephen’s Green to the General Post Office (GPO), where Cathal Ó Ciarragáin, Tonie Walsh and Joni Crone addressed the crowd.
In her speech, Crone delivered a satirical queer re-working of the 1916 proclamation of independence, written by Irish revolutionaries and read in the same spot many years before.
It was a moment of protest, anger and visibility — and it marked a radical shift in queer activism in Ireland.
In an interview with Una Mullally for her book In the Name of Love: The Movement for Marriage Equality in Ireland, LGBT+ rights campaigner Izzy Kamikaze said: “We were the people who organised the Fairview Park march after the killing, which is the thing that people say was ‘The Irish Stonewall’. It was.”
Ireland at the time was a staunchly Catholic country and it was a cold, unrelentingly cruel place for queer people to exist.
Since then, things have changed drastically. Gay sex was finally decriminalised in 1993. In 2015, marriage equality was legalised and the Gender Recognition Act was finally passed, giving some trans people legal recognition for the first time.
None of those changes would have happened without the tireless, painstaking work done by LGBT+ activists who spent years marching through the streets, demanding change.
When marriage equality finally became a reality in 2015, activists decorated a footbridge in Fairview Park in memory of Declan Flynn, showing that the legacy of his shocking death will never be forgotten.
Almost 40 years on, Flynn remains a vital figure in Ireland’s Pride movement – even if he never lived to see LGBT+ equality.
An already married couple are planning a beautiful “re-wedding” after one spouse came out as a trans woman.
Jae and Rayna Harvey, of Somerset, England, first got married in 2018 in Texas, where Jae is from, but shortly after the wedding Rayna came out as a trans woman.
Rayna told The Mirror that she had been suppressing her true self since she was 11 years old, and that she felt hugely “liberated” after coming out while on their honeymoon in Wiltshire.
The couple are now planning a “re-wedding” to celebrate their love now that Rayna is out, and Jae said: “There’s a bit of a disconnect when we think back to our first wedding as I feel, ‘Well, Ray wasn’t there?’ and I want her in my wedding.
“What I want more than anything is for her family to see her walk down the aisle and for her to have her day – I got to have mine with all my bells and whistles, so now it’s her turn.”
Rayna said that since coming out as trans, she has received “absolutely incredible support” from everyone in her life, including her 93-year-old nan, who buys her “granddaughter” cards on special occasions.
Jae added that at the “re-wedding”, set to take place in Somerset’s Quantock Hills next September, both brides will be “wearing beautiful black dresses” as part of “an all-black and white theme with white, pink and red roses” symbolising rebirth.
In a message to Jae recently shared on Instagram, Rayna said: “Wife, words will never be able to explain how much of a difference you’ve made to my life, I owe most of who I am to you and the time you invested to teach me and to help me get where I want to be.
“From doing my photoshoots, helping me with what goes together clothes wise, holding my hand and reassuring me, to just loving me and being my wife, you’ve got it all, and I’m so so lucky to be loved by you.
“Here’s to another lifetime of love, laughs and happiness.”
A single gay man who said he’s “always dreamed” of a big family has just adopted his sixth child with a disability.
Ben Carpenter, 37, from Huddersfield worked in the care sector before he adopted his first child when he was just 21 years old.
A single gay man who said he’s “always dreamed” of a big family has just adopted his sixth child with a disability.
Ben Carpenter, 37, from Huddersfield worked in the care sector before he adopted his first child when he was just 21 years old.
Adopting children who had disabilities and additional mental and physical needs was important to him, he said, because they “were the most vulnerable and the ones that were most in need of a loving and caring home”.
In 2015, the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) estimatedthat while 25 per cent of all looked-after children have a disability, this number skyrockets to 40 per cent for children waiting on the adoption register.
His first child Jack, who is now 14, has autism, and soon Ben started his family he adopted Ruby, now 11, who has complex needs.
I had a lot to prove at such a young age,” he said.
“I needed to show that I was mature enough and could offer these kids what they needed.”
After adopting Ruby, Ben was asked by the adoption agency whether he would adopt his daughter’s biological sister Lily, who is deaf.
His fourth child was six-year-old Joseph, who has Down’s syndrome, and his fifth child was Teddy, who had Cornelia de Lange syndrome, a rare genetic disorder.
Tragically, Teddy passed away from sepsis in November, 2019, which was unrelated to his disability.
Ben said: “I was devastated and I felt guilty for a while because I kept wondering if there was something I could have done to fix it.
“Before Teddy passed away, I had been contacted to see if I would consider another child. It was a little boy with severe brain issues.
“I had said yes, but when Teddy passed I needed to put the process on hold to allow myself to grieve.”
Last year, although still grieving his son, Ben said: “I realised that this little boy also needed me.”
In April of that year, the gay dad adopted his sixth child, Louis, whose needs to use a wheelchair because of his disability.
He explained: “I had always dreamed about having a big family and I am so happy that my kids are a part of it and that they have so many siblings.
“I often sit and imagine them all at each other’s weddings.
“They are all so supportive of each other’s needs and I am so proud that I have created a happy, loving and stable environment for them to grow up in.
“As much as I have changed their life, they have also changed mine.”
Ben is currently raising money for a multi-sensory room, which “will help the children with sensory issues, developmental disabilities and learning difficulties”, via JustGiving.
Dr Michelle Telfer, who represented Australia in gymnastics at the 1992 Olympic Games, has described how she “made herself a big target” by becoming a global leader in caring for trans kids.
In a short documentary for ABC News In-depth, Telfer explained that after the end of her gymnastics career at the age of 18, she was inspired to become a doctor by those who had treated her various sports injuries.
She said: “I was trying to decide between doing paediatrics or doing psychiatry. And then in paediatrics, I found adolescent medicine, which is that perfect combination of paediatrics and mental health… I’d found the place I wanted to be.”
In 2012, after returning from maternity leave, Telfer took a job as the head of adolescent medicine at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
She oversaw various services for young people, but her life changed forever when she was asked to lead the hospital’s gender clinic for children.
“I was asked to take over this group of trans children in their care, and I jumped at it,” she said. “I’d never met a trans child before I started this job.”
One of the first children she met with, she was, was named Oliver.
She continued: “I said to Oliver, ‘How do you know that you’re a boy? When did you start thinking about yourself as a boy?
“He was 10 at the time, and he told me his story… It was such a beautiful story.
“And I thought, ‘I can help this child have a boy’s body. How many people can do that?”
Oliver went on to receive hormone treatment when he was 15, with the consent of both of his parents. Now 18, he told ABC News: “I’m in my final year of high school. I’m hoping one day to study medicine, cardiothoracic surgery or something similar.
“I’m really optimistic about my future. I’ve huge ambitions I want to do a lot of good in this world. And I think that, you know, I wouldn’t be in that place, I wouldn’t be able to have those dreams, if I didn’t receive support from Michelle.”
Another of the kids in Telfer’s care, a trans teenager named Isabelle, also appeared in the film. She said: “I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have Michelle and the Royal Children’s Hospital with me. I think I’d equate a large part of my being alive at the moment to them.”
Right-wing newspaper The Australian has written “nearly 50” articles about Michelle Telfer.
But, despite the huge satisfaction she gets from helping kids to be their true selves, as the “debate” over trans people’s right to exist gets louder, Michelle Telfer has has become a “target”.
“There have always been critics,” she said.
“You don’t go into this area of medicine without being warned about becoming a target. And I’ve certainly made myself a very big target.”
“From August, 2019, to the current time, The Australian newspaper has written nearly 50 articles about me and my work,” said Telfer
“The newspaper is inferring that clinicians like me are harming children, that it’s experimental, that the care is novel, and that they’re potentially mentally ill and they’re not really trans.”
In 2020, following fierce lobbying by right-wing media and anti-trans campaigners for a “national inquiry” into health care for trans kids, Australia’s health minister Greg Hunt referred the issue to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
The college shot down the idea of an “inquiry”, instead calling for greater access to gender-affirming services for trans kids.
However, even after the statement in support of her work, Telfer said the articles in The Australian continued and she began to struggle with anxiety.
Finally at the end of her tether, last year Telfer submitted a 42-page complaint to the Press Council over The Australian‘s coverage.
Despite everything, Telfer remains “absolutely optimistic about the future”.
“I know that what we’re doing is the right thing,” she said.
“Society has for hundreds and hundreds of years tried to ignore and dismiss trans people. But now that we’re affirming them, look at what they can do.”
Long before the push for marriage equality truly began, before Obergefell v Hodges, before the Defense of Marriage Act, there was Jack and Michael McConnell.
This year Jack and Michael will celebrate 51 years of happy marriage, making them longest-wed same-sex couple in the world. They were also the very first.
Thanks to a clever legal loophole they managed to do it as early as 1971, exchanging vows before a Methodist pastor and a dozen guests in a friend’s apartment.
Their journey began in 1966, at a Halloween party in Oklahoma where the pair first laid eyes on each other.
“I was looking for the three T’s: tall, thin and 23. And believe it or not, at 24, I thought that time had passed me by!” Jack laughs. “But there was Michael, and the three T’s were standing right in front of me.”
Michael wasn’t quite as enamoured at first, though.
“Well, I was a little taken aback, because Jack had been in the Air Force and he had his hair in a really short, flat top style,” he said. “At that time most people in our community were doing the long Beatles-type hair. So I looked at him and thought, ‘I don’t know about this guy.’
“But my friend Cruz said, ‘Michael, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You two are destined to be together.’ And I think Cruz was absolutely right.”
Sure enough, their love blossomed as the couple went to movies or plays or secret parties with friends, always careful to stay under the religious radar to avoid attacks. After a year together Jack came to Michael with a proposal: he wanted someone to grow old with.
The question caught Michael off guard. “OK, I will commit,” he said, “but only on one condition. If we’re going to do this, you must try to find a way for us to get legally married.”
Jack gave him a long look, then said simply: “Well, I guess I’m going to law school.”
The first rule of law school was simple – what’s not forbidden is permitted. Jack seized upon this, realising the statutes only referred to marriage between “two parties”, not man and woman, which meant he could technically apply for a marriage license.
When their first attempt in 1970 was denied they fought it in the Supreme Court, where they lost their case in a one-sentence dismissal: “The appeal is dismissed for want of a substantial federal question.”
Undeterred, the couple simply figured out another loophole.
First Michael legally adopted Jack, which gave them inheritance and other legal protections. Then Jack changed his first name to the gender-neutral “Pat Lyn”, and Michael went to apply for a license alone. And this time, it worked.
The pair were wed before officials could change their mind; unfortunately, when it was revealed that Jack and Michael were both men, those officials declared the license invalid. Jack refused to accept their decision.
“Something as simple and totally obvious to a law student was not that obvious to the rest of the world,” he said. “It was a fight. We’ve been fighting ever since.”
It was years before the homophobic rhetoric of the AIDS crisis; many people were simply curious and peppered them with questions. How exactly did their relationship work, they asked, and what did they want to accomplish?
More often than not, straight couples would shyly approach them after the event for advice about intimacy problems.
“We actually did not encounter any bullying or any harm at all,” Jack recalls.
“Because what we spoke to was love, our commitment and our relationship, almost everyone could understand that,” Michael says, finishing his husband’s thought.
We’ve jerked everybody 45 years into the future
Ultimately though, Jack and Michael McConnell were just a few decades ahead of their time.
As the 70s passed and marriage equality was no closer, Jack says they realised “we’ve jerked everybody 45 years into the future, and it’s gonna take them a while to catch up”.
The couple eventually took a step back to focus on their careers and allow a new generation of LGBT+ activists to continue the fight. But they never lost sight of their goal, and refused to accept their marriage was invalid.
And nearly five decades later, they were finally proven right. The Supreme Court referenced them by name in the momentous marriage equality battle, Obergefell v Hodges, which officially overturned the case against their marriage.
“I saw it as vindication,” Jack said. “I knew from day one we’d followed the letter of the law, and [the Supreme Court] verified that what was intuitively obvious to a second year law student in 1971 was indeed correct. It only took, what, 40 years?”
But even so, they can’t help but draw parallels between their experience and today’s struggle for trans rights.
“These right-wing crazies can’t attack gay marriage anymore, because it means attacking people like Jack and me, or their brother, their uncle, their aunt, their cousin. So now they’re going to try to find other people that they can label and lie about,” Michael said.
“And it’s not going to work. I can tell you, it’s not going to work, because it’s not natural. We’re all human beings. As long as we stand together, they’re not going to win.”
Now they’re leaving the fight to younger generations who are battling for the next round of LGBT+ rights – and it’s for these people that they’ve penned a book about their lives.
“We wanted to leave a story for them about how you can find your way and find the love you want,” Michael said.
“What I see in younger generations now is inspiring: they’re highly intelligent, they’re well connected all around the planet. And they have a vision that I agree with. It’s one that is based on love, not only for one another, wherever we come from, but for this planet that sustains us all.
“You can’t ask for more than that.”
Jack and Michael McConnell’s book, “The Wedding Heard ‘Round The World: America’s First Gay Marriage,” is out now in Paperback Original.