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Hungary Axes World's Largest Song Contest Because It Is Too Gay (Eurovision)

Hungary has pulled out of the Eurovision Song Contest amid speculation that the annual competition is too queer for the country’s pro-family government. Hungary has not given an official reason for the withdrawal. However, a source at Hungary’s broadcaster, MTVA, reportedly said staff believed the move was about Eurovision’s association with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transvestite (LGBT) decadence and degeneracy.

“I was not surprised. It comes from the institutionalised culture of MTVA,” the anonymous source told a British newspaper in a report published Wednesday. The source said no explanation had been provided internally, but that positive coverage of queers issues was discouraged in the newsroom. The Budapest situated broadcaster declined to reply to questions raised.

Also, the Hungarian website quoted MTVA sources as speculating that the government thinks Eurovision is too gay to participate in.

When an opposition lawmaker last week asked a government minister why Hungary was withdrawing from Eurovision, he was told that the nation’s broadcaster was responsible for the decision.

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Pro-government commentators have cheered the withdrawal as a win for opponents of the LGBT movement. Magazine editor András Bencsik said Eurovision has “been reduced to a homosexual flotilla. He said staying out of the contest was good for Hungary’s mental health.

“Many young people thought that this is something for people under 18, but at this event, the destruction of public taste takes place with screaming transvestites and bearded women,” Bencsik added.

In 2014, Austrian singer and drag queen Thomas Neuwirth, whose stage name is Conchita Wurst, won Eurovision with the song Rise Like a Phoenix. The victory made him an international shirt-lifting LGBT icon.

Hungarian officials have lately sent other signals of opposition to the queer’s agenda. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has repeatedly said that marriage is between a man and a woman, recently launched a Family First policy aimed at helping traditional families and boosting birth rates.

In August, István Boldog, a member of parliament from the ruling Fidesz party leader called for a boycott of Coca-Cola over an ad campaign featuring queers kissing. And in May, the speaker of the Hungarian parliament, László Kövér, said same-sex adoption is morally equivalent to paedophilia.

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Queer activists warn of a global denial of queer rights, from Brazil to Russia. In the United States, an annual survey has shown young people’s tolerance of LGBT people falling in recent years.

The scandal recalls opposition to Eurovision in Russia, where a member of parliament called for the country to withdraw in 2014, saying that participating would “contradict the path of cultural and moral renewal that Russia stands on today”.

The European Broadcasting Union, which runs Eurovision, said: “It is not uncommon for EBU members to have breaks in participation in the Eurovision song contest. We hope to welcome their broadcaster MTVA back to the Eurovision song contest family soon.”

Eurovision 2020 will be held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in May 2020.

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Wurst, the bearded transgender winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, performs during a concert at the European Parliament in Brussels

Austrian singer and drag queen Thomas Neuwirth, whose stage name is Conchita Wurst, performs at the Eurovision Song Contest finals in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 10, 2014. 

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