For Hungary's LGBT Community, The Vogue Scene Is About More Than Self-Expression. It's About Staying Safe.

BUDAPEST — On a chilly March Sunday, Turbina, a nightclub in downtown Budapest, is already heaving — and it’s only 4 o’clock in the afternoon. As 1980s pop blasts out, partygoers wearing heavy makeup and costumes adorned with sequins and neon, strut, pose, and dance along a makeshift runway. This isn’t a fashion show, but Hungary’s biggest “vogue ball,” a banner event in the country’s ballroom scene and a mecca for many in the LGBT community. reports Radio Free Europe.

A distant, more glamorous cousin to traditional ballroom dancing, the modern ballroom scene is exploding in Hungary. And with the country seeing a regression on LGBT rights in recent years, Hungary’s LGBT community has found a much-needed safe space in the ballroom scene, which for many has become a home away from home.

It isn’t easy being LGBT in Hungary right now. On the same day as April 3 elections that could unseat long-time right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Hungarians will vote in a government-initiated referendum ostensibly on “child protection,” but which has been slammed by rights groups for being anti-LGBT.

The streets of Hungary’s capital, Budapest, are lined with political campaign ads showing a woman hugging a baby. The ad, from the Fidesz-dominated government, reads “Let’s Protect Our Children,” a not-so-subtle reference to the LGBT community, who the government has said would force queer propaganda and gender reassignments on children.

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