”We are not holding hands” – LGBTQ experiences from the (Hungarian) countryside

Personal fulfillment and accepting who you are is not an easy process for lesbians (either).  You need to get to know yourself and figure out what you really want, who you really are. This is already hard enough not to mention presenting  “what you have found out” about yourself to your family, friends and at your work. Sexual orientation is still a hot topic, even in Budapest. Although the city has its deficiencies it is not impossible to find a partner, have and maintain a fulfilling lesbian relationship or just ‘live’ our lesbian lives (identities). However, Hungary’s lesbians are not only located in Budapest; we asked Blanka about her experiences, the differences between the countryside and the capital.

“I have moved from the countryside to the capital more than a year ago. I have already gained a lot of new experiences, my views have changed and I think differently about my non-heterosexual life. At home in the countryside I have to act straight because I, the little princess of the family simply can not be in love with a girl! Even though as a girl I love other girls, no matter if I am in Budapest or at my hometown, in a provincial town of Eastern-Hungary. Unfortunately I had to ‘escape’ home to be able to be myself and not to play a role which isn’t me at all.

Since I moved to Budapest a year ago, I have been to gaybars, LGBTQ parties, events which were organized by the LGBTQ community of my university, and participated in a lot of other programs where I could meet people from this community. In the countryside there are no LGBTQ associations. Neither are there nightclubs where we would feel safe and would not have to be worried about possible atrocities.

In Budapest I dare to introduce my partner as my girlfriend, I feel free to walk on the street and I do not need to be ashamed when kissing her while on a date. This is impossible to imagine at the countryside, at home. They often call me as the “Local Lesbian” even though I never did anything revealing or scandalous. My family knows that I have a girlfriend, yet it is a taboo to speak about. We are not holding hands in the countryside, and it would be unimaginable to kiss her because we are constantly aware that someone could see us.

Often people think that the situation is different in a larger city or a provincial town than in a 90-person village. However, this is not usually the case, my experiences from the countryside is that you should either get used to it or escape. Either you have to assimilate or run away.”


Blanka is not the only one who is experiencing these hardships. Among other organizations we are also thriving to change the situation of LGBTQ people not only in Budapest but in whole Hungary. This process is slow, but we are happy to inform you that there are more and more NGO’s operating all around the country:

Feel free to join the one that is closest to you, take the courage to participate in the programs, or write to us, but never forget: You are not alone!


Translated by Flóra Keresztely

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