Dorottya Redai

Anita Szirbek


Dorottya Redai joined Labrisz Lesbian Association in 2004, not long after coming out to herself. She was drawn by the Budapest non-profit’s school outreach program, Getting to Know LGBT People, which intersected with her own background in gender studies and education. But as the program was geared toward students in secondary schools, Redai and her colleagues wanted to come up with a way “to address younger children with issues of discrimination, social exclusion, diversity, and inclusion.” They decided, she says, “that a fairytale book would be the best tool for this.” The resulting book, A Fairytale for Everyone (Meseország mindenkié), was published in 2020 in Hungary. Despite criticism from the country’s ultraconservative politicians, including Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the book sold over 34,000 copies and has been translated into 11 languages, including English. Labrisz’ Getting to Know LGBT People has since been banned under a 2021 law that restricts the distribution of LGBTQ-related materials to minors—one of numerous laws Hungary has passed restricting LGBTQ+ rights since the pandemic. But A Fairytale for Everyone, which can still be purchased by parents for their children, continues to reach young readers with its message of tolerance, acceptance, and inclusion. The most rewarding part of the project “is always the feedback from LBT+ women and from young LGBT+ people, which shows that we are doing good work,” Redai says. But that good work is not without its challenges, especially in Hungary’s current political climate. “Leading this project to huge success and popularity, and simultaneously fighting against the recently intensified homo- and transphobia of the Hungarian government has triggered some changes in my personal life, academic work, and the politics I do,” Redai reflects. “At the moment, I am at a crossroads trying to figure out what should be the next steps to take.”

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