Hungarian Bookstore Fined for Selling Unwrapped LGBTQ+ Novel In Youth Section

They were fined 12m forints ($36,000 or £27,400).

In 2021, the Hungarian government passed a law that requires all books with a LGBTQ+ theme be wrapped in clear plastic. The Budapest metropolitan government office issued Líra Könyv, Hungary’s second-largest bookstore chain, a fine, saying it "violated a law that prohibits the depiction of homosexuality to minors." This is not the first time a Hungarian government office fined a bookstore for a violation, arguing that Líra violated by selling Heartstopper by Britsh author, Alice Oseman, in its youth literature section.

“The investigation found that the books in question depicted homosexuality, but they were nevertheless placed in the category of children’s books and youth literature, and were not distributed in closed packaging,” the government office said.  

Creative Director Krisztian Nyary said the fine isn’t just. According to CNN, Nyary argued "the law wasn’t clear if booksellers could place the books on shelves aimed at adults and whether or not all LBGTQ books needed wrapping, or just the ones aimed at minors." 

According to The Guardian, the fine is based on Hungary’s 2021 “child protection” law, which forbids the display of homosexual content to minors in media, including television, films, advertisements and literature. It also prohibits LGBTQ+ content in school education, and forbids the public display of products that depict or promote gender deviating from sex at birth.

The European Union has strongly condemned Hungary’s anti-LGBT laws and even referred them to its Court of Justice. On Friday, the United States, Germany and 36 other countries urged the Hungarian government to protect the rights of LGBT people. 

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