The 100 Most Influential People of 2021
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By Terry Reintke
September 15, 2021 7:19 AM EDT

A princess falling in love with another princess and riding into the sunset together. How much would a story like that have meant to me when I was a little girl? How much pain and shame could it have prevented?

The LGBTI+ community in Hungary is one of the most popular targets for Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s hate crusades. Standing up to this takes a lot of courage. It means enduring smear campaigns in an already hostile societal environment of restricted press freedom and attacks on the rule of law and fundamental rights. This hostility is amplified by a bombardment of rhetoric that everybody who is different is a threat to the country.

Dorottya Redai is a symbol of the courage needed in such an environment. In collaboration with fellow members of the Labrisz Lesbian Association and book editor Boldizsar Nagy, the academic and activist spearheaded the development of the children’s book A Fairy Tale for Everyone, which incorporates LGBTI+ characters into reimaginings of traditional fairy tales.

This work shows so beautifully how colorful life is. It makes young people believe that—no matter who you are—there is a fairy tale waiting for you that is your life.

When publishing stories with lesbian, gay and nonbinary characters becomes a reason to adopt laws restricting freedom of expression, it is clear that democracy is in grave danger. As it is in Hungary.

But there is hope.

And with people like Dorottya Redai and her colleagues at the forefront of the struggle for equality, we can continue to believe in a happy ending.

Reintke is a German member of the European Parliament and a co-president of the Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup

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