Being a 13 year old lesbian in Hungary – opinion

It’s no news to anyone that present day Hungary is not exactly an LGBTQ+ heaven. Even organising a Pride parade is a feat, let alone adopting a child as a same sex couple or changing your name as a trans person – and the list sadly keeps growing – what with things like the recently passed ’paedophile law’.

A lot of articles have already tackled this topic from multiple perspectives, but there’s a demographic that gets seriously under-represented, despite their importance for our future – the LGBTQ+ youth, teenagers. Even though children were pushed to the forefront of the discourse by the ‘Fairyland belongs to all’ debacle, the youth who are exactly at that vulnerable age of self-discovery, and are therefore extra sensitive to external influences, are rarely discussed. Best case scenario they have an accepting family and friend group or find series that portray the topic in a realistic way, but often they are left to their own devices. Meet Juli, who shared her own experiences with us.


I want to tell my story to shed light on the struggles of those who come out young. I’m a 13 year old lesbian girl, I openly identify as such and I wouldn’t want to be anything else. I wear such a huge rainbow on my backpack even a dumbass would get the idea. People tell me that I should keep my head down and that they also don’t advertise being straight on their backpacks. But they can hold their partner’s hand in school, they can hug and they don’t have to be scared just to go outside. I am scared. Maybe without good reason, but I feel like this country created an atmosphere in which I have to be afraid and in which I can’t feel safe.

If I feel like this right now, how would my eight year of self feel, who thought she had some sort of disease? I knew I was different even back then. I realised at the age of 11 that I was attracted to girls. I saw a video discussing lesbian relationships – it’s sad that that’s when I first heard about the topic, but at school it was taboo.

I think accepting yourself is the hardest part, it took me a year. My parents are very accepting and supportive, even if they are still a bit worried for me. But not everyone is so lucky in my class. I think the government has a great deal of responsibility regarding this topic. If we had sensitivity trainings the class would be much more tolerant, as well as the teachers and the parents. If these trainings started right now, this generation would become much more accepting and our children wouldn’t have to fight the same battle for acceptance that we do. And maybe the next generation wouldn’t have to be afraid. I’m afraid, afraid that I won’t be able to have a family here, that I might be hurt because I came out. And others are also scared, it’s not a great thing to grow up in a country that you love, but not enough to call it ‘home’. I could only ever feel at home somewhere where I don’t have to be scared. Those who go to school these days and who don’t fit in aren’t learning because they want to get a good job here anymore but to be able to leave. Those who are left alone, without an accepting community, all live in fear. We don’t have a lot of groups that are willing to help us, where we could discuss this topic with our peers and where we could share our experiences.

People keep telling me that I will outgrow it. I don’t believe that. Thanks to the internet I had an easier time looking things up and so I realised earlier why I was different. But who would take a girl of 12-13 seriously who suddenly up and claims to be attracted to girls?

My orientation is questioned a lot, but not nearly as many times as I question it myself.

If someone stands up and comes out to us, it’s our duty to believe them. This is something instinctive, that you can’t hide or cover up completely, you’re born with it and it can’t be changed. It’s horrible to have to lie to your loved ones and even worse if you’re lying to yourself. I couldn’t go back to the closet even if I was forced. No matter what, no one should go back, it’s not worth it. No matter what your parents tell you or what you see on TV, don’t believe it. They’ve probably never been in such a situation so they can’t understand what you’re going through. But I think that people who came out and who can afford to do so absolutely must speak up on this topic! We must stand up for ourselves, for our friends and for every child who isn’t as lucky as we are. We must fight for the rights that were taken or are about to be taken from us. We must fight for our future!

The official stance is that the bill that makes it impossible for same sex couples to adopt is meant to protect families and children. But is that so? I don’t think so. I don’t know which family would be helped by others not being allowed to have families. It’s actually against the concept of ‘family’ if people are denied the right to have one. I’m also one of the teens who feel discriminated against. If I was supported I wouldn’t have to write all this, because then my friends would not be afraid to stand and speak up for the LGBTQ+ community. I could discuss this topic with my classmates at school and if the government really had my best interest in mind they would not allow a storybook about people like me to be shredded. When a book depicting a marginalised child is shredded, my self-esteem, my faith in the country and my sense of security is shredded with the book.

This is why I think sensitivity trainings in schools would be important, because if someone isn’t accepted by their parents as they are, it means the world to find a welcoming community at school and to have somewhere to turn to if they need help. I think everyone has the right to be themselves and not to have to be afraid. If teachers can’t treat this topic in a neutral and non-judgemental way, that could cause serious problems. Those who speak up are often shunned. If you like your own sex or if you were born in the wrong body stifling a part of yourself is not a good option, but right now openly being yourself is very difficult. Both roads bring despair and fear. The terrifying thing about this country isn’t that it’s not progressing, it’s that it’s going backwards. We got started on the road towards equal rights but now we’re turning back. We must raise our voices if we want this to change! Not just one person, but multitudes! We must speak up together to be heard, to make it known that we also exist and we’re also people just like anyone else!


Translated by Zsófia Ziaja

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