Even as those of us in the United States find ourseleves troubled by slow progress on LGBT rights, the news from other corners of the globe is often even more disturbing. Amnesty International reports that Hungarian authorities took no action to protect recent participants at a Budapest Pride March from attacks, and that at least eleven individuals were beaten for daring to be visible. According to Amnesty, this was hardly the first time LGBT Hungarians were the targets of homophobia and threats.
Pride Participants Attacked in Hungary
The organization reports that, on July 7, "A few hundred counter-demonstrators reportedly harassed the participants along the route of the Pride March, from Heroes' Square to the Freedom Bridge, throwing eggs, bottles, and Molotov cocktails at them, and threatening their security and physical integrity. According to reports received by Amnesty International several individuals were injured. The police were present during the Pride March, but allegedly did not take any action to disperse the violent counter-demonstrators, in breach of the Hungarian Act on assembly."
One activist, who reported an incident to the police, was told that "she chose to participate in the event; therefore she should take its consequences."
The police, it seems, decided to stand back and watch.
This is a far cry from a growing number of police departments in the United States, who have been working, hand-in-hand with Amnesty, to better serve the LGBT community. Police departments in Washington, D.C., San Antonio, Memphis, Lexington (Kentucky), and Fargo (North Dakota) have all signed Amnesty's pledge to take concrete steps in combating police brutality against LGBT people.
That's an important first step, and one that needs to be repeated in cities across the globe, from Boston to Budapest.
And, while it may seem that we're all a long way from Hungary, we can all make a difference in the lives of LGBT people here in the U.S. as well as around the world. You can learn more about urging police departments to take Amnesty's pledge online here. And you can sign up for alerts from OUTfront, Amnesty's LGBT advocacy program, by clicking here.
As Pultizer Prize-winning author Alice Walker once said, "Activism is my rent for living on this planet." It's time that more of us pay our rent, and pave the way for equality in every corner of the world. Our work shouldn't just be local; it should also be global.