This week international outrage followed the passing of a law in Hungary, which, while allegedly protecting minors against sexual abuse, in fact bans any representation of LGBT+ people in schools and in the media. This Facebook post by Kata Gömbicz, a trainer of the Getting to Know LGBT People school sensitizing program (https://melegsegesmegismeres.hu/english/) illustrates that depriving youth of information facilitates, rather than hinders, sexual abuse.
I have thought a lot about what I could write concerning the law that passed today. Then I remembered the time I came closest to becoming the victim of a “pedophile”.
I was 14, left alone with a burden I could not carry by myself. I was afraid, and I felt like I could not count on anyone. All I knew about homosexuals was that people will whisper behind your back, laugh and point their fingers at you if you are considered one. And what I knew about myself was that I was in love with someone who didn’t want me, that my heart was crushing under this pain, and that I could not do this alone. The best idea that occurred to me was to write down my problem by putting it into a nice, long text on gyakorikerdesek.hu (the translator: a Hungarian website where you ask for advice anonymously). You can guess what kind of responses I received. “Already gay at 14?” “what is becoming of this degenerate world?” “you’re just a filthy lesbo, easy as that”. You can still find the question on the site today.
I became more and more desperate and felt more and more that I was completely alone in this world. Then I received a private message from a boy who said that there were others in similar situations, that he talked to many people like me and that he understood how bad I must feel now. We exchanged many letters by the time it turned out that I was talking to an approximately 45 year-old, divorced man whose kid was about the same age as me. I felt bad about this, I was not okay with not knowing his age all these weeks, not okay with a grown man being this kind to me, but there was nobody else I could count on. Then he offered to give me the contacts of another girl who suffered from the same issues as me, as understanding each other would be helpful. I liked the idea a lot, but he gave me the girl’s email address on one condition: that I meet him in person. I was 14, in ninth grade. We met at a Burger King, with a friend of mine sitting and watching us at a table nearby. I knew that I shouldn’t meet a stranger, an adult man, but I couldn’t say no and give up on the only chance that someone might understand what I was going through! Give up on the chance that someone may say that I am not alone, that they are just like me. When we said goodbye, he gave me the email address. Nothing unfortunate happened. But it very well could have.
I never got to know if he had any ulterior motives, perhaps he really just wanted to help. In person, though? Does anyone subject help to conditions? What if I hadn’t been smart enough to meet him at Burger King or simply accepted his offer to give me a lift home in his car?
Fortunately, I will never know the answer. But I know how terribly vulnerable and completely alone an LGBTQ+ person feels when they realize that something for them is different than for the majority of people. I would have NEVER agreed to meet the man if I had not been so desperate. If a nice person at school had told me that there is a better place to seek help than gyakorikerdesek.hu.
How many youngsters need to feel less, out of reach of help and support, for us to come to our senses? How many (more) lives need to be destroyed? NOTHING will heal these wounds later on! They leave a mark.
I don’t want any young LGBTQ+ person to feel alone. What I want is for every person to know that their gender, sexual orientation, skin color and nationality does not matter, that they are valuable, that they are not alone, that they are loveable and that they deserve to be loved. Everybody deserves to love and to be loved!
Sorry to break it but gays will not become heterosexuals if talking about the existence of LGBTQ+ people is forbidden, heterosexuals will not become gays if they hear about LGBTQ+ matters, AND Fidesz supporters will not be less gay if they ban being it.
Translated by Gabriella Furik