Category Archives: Gay Budapest
The Danube river flows gracefully and the two city parts, Buda and Pest welcome it with a warm embrace. Rather than dividing the city the Danube is in full harmony with the two parts, presenting Budapest with striking vistas.
The Hungarian capital is not too large and not too small. It has just the right size that makes it a pleasant place to live in and to discover. 2 million citizens it is the largest city in the country.
The city is often referred to as the Paris of the east, and deserves this name. It bears some resemblance to Prague, but is larger and friendlier.
Budapest has become a gay mecca in this part of Europe with many gay places. By day, you can visit museums, take a coffee in one of the cafes or visit gay sauna Magnum. By night you can have a dinner at either a cheap or a fancy restaurant and after go to the gay discos or bars.
Since the fall of the communist regime, a commercial gay infrastructure has grown up, though there is less of a sense of community than in other European countries. Nevertheless the very first gay youth group was founded recently and a Gay Pride Day in Budapest has been organized every year since 1997.
It is very exciting we will be there next month, covering the 16th Annual Budapest Gay Pride! 11-19 June @2011. Earlier this year there were some legal problems that arose when the activities and routes had to be expanded – but everything has been worked out and things are moving along full speed ahead!
If you plan to visit, Budapest Pride site has a lot of information for visitors.
While gay life may not be quite the same as in Western Europe and North America, we may assure you that once you understand life the Magyar way, there is no limit to expressing who you are and can be in a tolerant, open and accepting Hungary.
So what exactly IS the Magyar way? Well…just as in the Hungarian language SZIA is hello and HELO can mean goodbye, things work in slightly different ways semantically in Hungary. So although in recent years new exclusively gay and lesbian venues have opened all over the city, there are places that have traditionally always attracted an alternative following, although they have never openly been advertised as such.
Take the Turkish baths, for instance, on “men-only” days. While not officially gay, they have for decades attracted a huge following of admirers of men-only nudist culture, the homo-eroticism of which may be tangible even for casual outside observers. And in the traditional Magyar scheme of things, such places may be far more enjoyable and relaxing than the crude meat market cruising rituals at Western-style gay saunas. The same applies to mixed nightclubs and cafes, almost all of which in Budapest are known to be highly tolerant, accepting and easygoing. Thus Hungary is radically different from the gay circuit party scene of Western Europe and North America, which is precisely its greatest charm and attraction.
GAY PRIDE HISTORY –
The idea of organizing the first gay festival came in the years following the political transition. However, the announcement of Hungary’s first Gay Pride in 1992 was in vain: the event was canceled because of lack of interest.
But the organizers didn’t give up. They started thinking about other kinds of gatherings, and they invited lesbians and gays to a picnic! Over the years the events have grown. In 1993 they had a film festival. BY the 2008 the film festival had become HUGE! Never before had so many non-LGBT individuals and organizations participated in the march, which strongly signified their support for rights. Public figures and organizations reacted to the situation as well, and in the aftermath of the attacks several civil initiatives were launched, whose slogan became: “We’ve had enough of violence against minorities!”