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Hungary LGBT Commentary

DIY sex change and other machinations of identity politics: commentary

The legal debate surrounding “sex-at-birth” in Hungary indicates a much deeper societal conflict, writes Miklós Szánthó, the director of the Center for Fundamental Rights

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Miklós Szánthó

One is overcome by a strange feeling as we once again debate issues that should be self-explanatory. Take the polemics surrounding the recent adoption of “sex-at-birth” into the Hungarian legal framework. If this postmodern world, aka Western civilization, wasn’t inspired by liberalism and its rather elastic moral attitudes – if we, in fact, lived in a normal world – there would be little need to spend so much time philosophizing about the question of whether one can create a new sex or gender for oneself.

Western progressive warriors, however, live such comfortable lives that they have time for such nonsense. Idolizing a large variety of personal identities, including sexual ones, has ingrained itself into the liberal project to such an extent that they have started to label any attempt at defining oneself as “created to be man or woman” as an attack against modernity itself.

The European Parliament was quick to condemn what they called “an attack on the rights of transsexual and intersexual people in Hungary.” It is a problem, you see, that there is a bill currently debated in the Hungarian parliament, which, as barbaric and backward as it may sound, would mandate that only a person’s “sex-at-birth,” either male or female, be recorded on their birth certificate and that this fact cannot be changed in the future.


But before looking into the question as to why this hasn’t been the case all along, let’s take a look at the “Hungarian miracle.” Not the “Magic Magyars” of football history; no, something far more miraculous than that fond memory.

While, according to some Western media, Viktor Orbán used the declaration of the state of emergency to single-handedly shut down the National Assembly, it nevertheless manages to debate a bill! To be honest, we should be grateful to the critics of the proposed law for completely ignoring the lightning speed at which fake news spreads nowadays, as it would be difficult indeed to use “legislative tools” to squash the “rights of the LGBTQETC+ communities if the Hungarian parliament wasn’t in session to make laws!

But let us take a good look at the matter at hand. Behind the legalistic debate, the contours of a much deeper clash of worldviews is clearly evident even if liberals have always enjoyed telling us what rules to follow in our lives and have always tried to depict these rules as neutral. The legal dimension here is quite clear. Up until now, in Hungary, the concept of “sex” has not been defined in any piece of legislation, which should serve as some sort of proof that in the not-too-distant past that things were normal. This should come as no surprise. Those facets of life have remained self-evident for centuries are usually left normatively undefined.

The legislative body assumes that such things as, for instance, breathing and saying “hello” are based on a common understanding that everybody accepts. And this is where postmodern inter-contextualization and triple meanings come into the picture — things that will not leave the legal practice untouched. European legal practice and, unfortunately, the legal interpretation of the Constitutional Court (“the right of changing their names is a fundamental right of transsexuals”) have clearly confused lower courts and authorities even in Hungary.

More and more problems have arisen, especially when it comes to name changes due to a change of gender, and adjudication of such matters has essentially stopped since 2018. The gap in the law had to be filled, and the Hungarian legislation thus does so unequivocally. As changing biological sex is out of the question, the state records the “sex-at-birth” (and only that) of a newborn on the birth certificate, based on primary sexual characteristics and the child’s chromosomes; naturally, this fact at birth cannot be changed later.

Beyond this, everybody can experience his or her personal (and sexual) identity as he or she chooses. However, the state cannot be forced to legislate with regard to “gender fluidity,” which runs counter to the constitutional framework.

This strange, grotesque self-parody of a term leads us to the wider and perhaps more consequential intellectual horizon of the current debate.

“Gender ideology” is a microcosm of what the liberal soul-mongers think of Man and of life itself. According to this approach, life — including whether someone is a man or a woman — is nothing but an accident. A human being, as a phenomenon perceived by others, is a social construct. Social justice, imagined as being somewhere distant and yet present in our world, must be achieved through deconstructing the limits set by nature and ourselves. “Binary gender coding” and its fixed nature represents such a limit, and its deconstruction can be achieved by freeing it from its ties to biological sex. And this can happen through the reinterpretation of certain terms and concepts. Hence, if being male or female is no longer a natural determination prescribed by the order of creation, but merely an interpretation of gender roles “developed over the course of history”, then clearly this interpretation can be changed.

This interpretation of “social justice” is utter hogwash, even if skillfully constructed, and devised to hide liberal absurdity. One of its tools is the relativism described above, which tries to create relativism around certain categories that were taken as eternal and absolute, like the idea of male and female or Man and Woman. According to them, these “roles” exist merely in a given cultural and social context, and thus, if the context changes, they can become interchangeable.

In order to justify the “changing of the context” to the wider audience, this fundamentalist approach deems it sufficient to demonstrate a single deviation from the “principal rule.” The real genius of this argumentation lies in the process of sensitization. They generalize from special, even abnormal cases, and then present this generalization as equal in standing to the dominant interpretation and as a common cause of mankind that now clearly deserves the sympathy of all.

Another tool of social engineering designed to upend our sense of proportionality is advocating for the moral properness of satisfying desires. This manufactures an interpretation of freedom that is based not on the self-restraint necessary for social tranquility, but one that encourages the boundless fulfillment of needs, wishes and personal — even sexual — desires.

An oft repeated argument used to convince those on the fence is, “Does it hurt anybody?” What harm is there if certain Bills legally become Barbaras, if some of the Joannes become Johns or if some men or women register themselves as “non-binary genders” or “queers”?

However, this genuinely confusing question is a clear example of why the generalizing tendencies that lie at the foundation of liberal individualism are problematic. What this argument does is to say that if this is better for him on a personal level and does not touch me at all on a personal level, then that must be true on the societal level as well and must lead to a more morally justifiable state of affairs.

The problem here is that the public good of a society is not a mathematical sum of the personal good. It is much more than that: It is the unique sanctity of shared traditions, habits and memory. If, grounded in sensitized neutrality, we abandon ultimate truth for “better averages,” if we agree to question the created nature of Man and Woman, then we sacrifice the general principle of good. For the benefit of those who label themselves asexual genderfluids and gunosexuals, we leave the obsolete “gender roles” behind; for the benefit of homosexual marriage, marriage itself loses its meaning; at the behest of activists for “animal dignity,” we abandon eating meat; in order to please drug users and the abortion lobby, we abandon the sanctity of life; in order to create an inclusive environment for migrants, we abandon national identity.

These consequences aren’t all that difficult to see, are they?