Trans man files a complaint against himself with the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights
April 21. 2023. – 09:20 AM
Hungarian transgender activist Flóris Balta has lodged a public interest complaint against himself with the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights because he believes the concept of "gender identity" is absurd and he does not believe that marriage is only possible between a man and a woman. Flóris Balta wanted to react to the recent amendment of the law, which would allow anyone to lodge a complaint or a public interest report in the interest of a higher level of protection of fundamental values and rights and in the public interest of defending the Hungarian way of life.
The new Complaints Act, signed by Justice Minister Judit Varga and Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, cites Hungary's EU commitments and harmonization obligations when updating the 2014 legislation on public interest reporting. It will allow complaints to be lodged with state and local authorities against
- anyone who challenges the constitutionally recognised role of marriage and the family;
- or the right of children to the protection and care necessary for their proper physical, mental and moral development and to an identity appropriate to their gender at birth.
Flóris Balta: We must trust our own judgment and be able to resist
Flóris Balta told Telex that the complaint against himself was not meant as a fillip, it was much more than that. He simply exercised his freedom of expression because, in his opinion
marriage is not possible only between a man and a woman, nor is family only between a man and a woman and those who are related by blood. In his opinion, the concept of 'identity according to one's gender at birth' is absurd, there is only identity. If it is imposed from the outside, it is not self-identity.
According to the activist, those who disagree with the government's views on marriage and childbearing should not feel threatened. He lodged his complaint for several reasons: firstly, he wants to find out exactly what the law on registering complaints means. On the other hand, he wants to send a message to the LGBTQ community that "we should not be so afraid of state institutions, but should trust our own value judgement and have the strength to resist".
Flóris Balta hopes that it will emerge that such divergent thinking doesn't incur sanctions. He doesn't think sanctions are realistic; rather, he expects the authorities to somehow evade responding.
“It's as if they were trying to create a thought police”
We also contacted Budapest Pride, wondering what they thought of Balta's move, and if they had heard of a similar case. Their spokesperson, Zita Hrubi told us that they had not heard of such a case, but it was good to see active citizens getting involved and pointing out the absurdity of the legislation. They don't understand the purpose of the legislation either, as it encourages the public to report on one another, "It's as if they were trying to create a thought police." What she considers positive is that, despite all this, there have been more Pride parades in recent years than ever before.
We sent questions to the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, to find out what they think about Balta’s move, how unique it is for someone to file a complaint against themselves and what the consequences might be. In response to our questions, their press officer responded by saying that the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights doesn't investigate electronically submitted public interest complaints.
The law has not yet been published in the Hungarian Official Gazette and the provisions of the bill will enter into force on the 60th day after its publication, so they will apply from that date," the press officer wrote in their reply.
The law has been criticised by several organisations, including K-Monitor, TASZ (Hungarian Civil Liberties Union), Transparency International Hungary and the Eötvös Károly Institute.
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