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Hungary's LGBT community fears tighter laws

For Daniella Milla Tokodi it’s in these moments that she finally feels free. Dancing, dressed in spectacular costumes at a drag show.

This bar in Budapest is popular with the local LGBT+ community. But that feeling of freedom is being overshadowed by worry about a string of laws passed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's right-wing government.

Critics say the laws undermine LGBT+ rights. The latest, this week, bans the "display and promotion" of homosexuality and gender change among under-18s, in schools and in the media.

It follows another law last year banning gender change in identity documents.

That’s something Tokodi, assigned male at birth, was able to do after she started her gender transition in 2014.

"I am obviously concerned by it (eds note: refers to new law banning "display and promotion" of homosexuality and gender change to under-18s) and how the next generation will grow up. It is not by chance that there are a lot of gay, transgender suicides, because if someone cannot become fulfilled what can they do? Should they hide?"

A survey of 2,000 people by a Hungarian LGBT+ group, showed that 42% thought about suicide while 30% had attempted it.

The survey found suicidal thoughts occurred mostly among teenagers. For drag queen Elona Musk it reminds him of how important messages of diversity are for young people.

He had a tough time in high school, where he felt he had to hide being gay. Now he helps educate young people.

He worries the new law, which he compared to similar legislation in Russia, will bring his volunteering work to an end and reduce chances for young LGBT+ people to get support.

"This is the direction in which Russia went, they took it in small steps, also started with the advertising law and now almost everything is illegal. This is scary."

The issue has brought people out on to the streets.

Orban's Fidesz party promotes a Christian-conservative agenda. Critics were angry the party tacked the proposal banning school talks on LGBT+ issues onto a separate, widely backed bill that strictly penalises pedophilia.

Saying that it wrongly combines pedophilia with LGBT+ issues.

Rights groups have called on Fidesz to withdraw the bill and the European Commission has opened an inquiry into it.

Orban has defended the new legislation, writing on his website in English that it "does not conflict with any lofty ideals or European laws. The new Hungarian law simply states clearly that only parents can decide on the sexual education of their children."

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