A Fairy Tale for Everyone
A book named A Fairy Tale for Everyone was published by the Labrisz Lesbian Association and stirred a huge storm. In the volume, Hungarian children can meet gay, lesbian, transgender, Roma, adopted, hearing-impaired and elderly heroes, among others. The book is about diversity and embracing other people to stand out. Several Hungarian writers, poets, storytellers and translators also took part in the campaign surrounding the publication of the book.
The book includes 17 stories, featuring characters that are gender-diverse and from ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds, which are not often represented in children’s stories. The stories touch on themes ranging from disability to poverty and were written both by amateur and professional authors. With several contributions by LGBTQ authors, the book seems to be the very first children’s book about LGBTQ people in the Hungarian language
In Hungary crossfire has affected the author and the book’s project manager, through her work with Labrisz Lesbian Association, the organization that published A Fairy Tale for Everyone. Labrisz has ran LGBTQ education programs mostly for high schools over the past two decades, but has faced hostility from far-right groups in recent years. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, authors of the book and theirs colleagues decided to expand and to adapt their education activities as well as to respond to the crisis, and to shrink growing hostility toward the LGBTQ community. “Because of the current social situation in Hungary, there’s lots of hatred and frustration, and children are growing up in this atmosphere.” they say. “We thought that it would be important to address children at an early age with issues of acceptance and diversity.”
Nevertheless, A Fairy Tale for Everyone appears to have galvanized significant public support from parents, teachers and booksellers across Hungary, which its publishers see as a small sign of hope among a darker backdrop of LGBTQ rights in the country. “It seems like the book is becoming a symbol of resistance against oppression and discrimination,” say the authors, finishing the statement that they have been inundated with responses and requests, including proposals to adapt the book into an audiobook, eBook, a board game and potentially different translations too. “It seems like a lot of people realized that it is important to have this kind of book,” says one of the authors. She adds that a major bookshop chain donated funds to help the book reach disadvantaged children. And while she says that Hungarian president Orban’s political party has been able to take advantage of people’s fear and frustrations, the two authors are hopeful that this episode could help make Hungary a better place for the next generation.
Illustration for Fairy tale about the Roma, male, gay Cinderella Illustration by Lilla Bölecz