Photo by Nimesh on Unsplash

In a bid to show solidarity with Hungary’s LGBTQ+ community, MTV will be holding its Europe Music Awards in Budapest.

Announcing the move on 19 October, MTV confirmed the choice was made after the country prohibited the “display and promotion of homosexuality” to those under-18.

“The decision was very clear to all of us. We should not move the event,” MTV Entertainment Group Worldwide President, Chris McCarthy, wrote in a memo to staff.

He continued: “Instead, we should move forward, using the show as an opportunity to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in Hungary and around the world as we continue to fight for equality for all.”

As Viktor Orbán’s ruling party continues to curtail the rights of LGBTQ+ citizens, lawmakers in the country passed the legislation on 15 June – banning “content promoting gender change or homosexuality” within the school curriculum.

The legislation was passed by 157 votes to just one in the National Assembly, despite leading human rights officials and activists in Europe criticising the bill as “an affront against the rights and identities of LGBTI persons”.

The ruling national-conservative Fidesz party were joined by the right-wing Jobbik party in overwhelmingly voting in favour of the new measure, while an independent lawmaker voted against it.

Leftist opposition parties boycotted the voting session in protest, while thousands of LGBTQ+ activists held a demonstration in Budapest on 14 June in an unsuccessful effort to prevent the new measure being passed into law.

LGBTQ+ activists and human rights groups have condemned the legislature, seeing it as another opportunity for LGBTQ+ citizens to be harassed and discriminated against because of their sexual orientations and/or gender identities.

The bill has widely been compared to Russia’s “gay propaganda” law, which was passed in 2013, that bans disseminating “propaganda on non-traditional sexual relations” among Russians.

Budapest mayor Gergely Karacsony called it a “shameful day” and said “the opposition’s place is not in the parliament but on the streets.”

It was widely condemned by the European Union, whose leaders said the law is discriminatory and not in line with the EU’s values.

“I have to be honest with you, as a gay man, my personal emotions got the better of me. After learning this legislation passed, my knee jerk reaction was that we should move the event to another country,” McCarthy revealed.

Despite this, the EMAs will take place at the Papp Laszlo Budapest Sportarena indoor arena on 14 November.

It will mark the return of the in person show after the COVID-19 pandemic caused last year’s to be moved online.