NetflixImage from the Heartstopper series
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 07:00
A large Hungarian bookstore was fined about 32,000 euros last week because it had a clearly recognizable book with an LGBT theme on its shelf. A Hungarian law prohibits children from seeing such themes, so the Hungarian translation of the popular series Heartstoppper should have been wrapped in foil.
According to owner Krisztián Nyáry of bookshop Líra, this is the largest fine ever handed out to a bookshop under this law. He intends to challenge the sanction.
“You can still argue about what you can hand over to a 3 or 4-year-old child, whether sexuality can be included in it. But leave that decision to the parents. And it is completely unrealistic that people aged 16, 17 someone else decides what they can read.”
British author Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper series tells the story of love between two teenage boys. It is intended for readers aged 14 and over. Netflix released a series based on the book last year. The fifth part of the series should be released later this year.
In 2021, the conservative government of Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán banned “displaying or promoting” homosexuality for children under the age of 18. That means that books like this cannot just be placed among other children’s books and must be wrapped in plastic.
During the Pride last weekend in Budapest, there were also protests against the fine for Líra. A day earlier, 37 countries had already urged Hungary to repeal laws that discriminate against LGBTI people. That protest was supported by, among others, the US and the EU, with the exception of Poland.