Nearly a year after Hungary voted to end legal recognition for its transgender citizens, its highest court just blocked a major portion of the discriminatory law.

On Friday, the Constitutional Court of Hungary threw out a provision of the May 2020 statute, known as Section 33 of the Registry Procedure Act, that effectively voided the corrected birth certificates of trans people who had already applied for a gender change on government documents. In a 134-56 vote, the National Assembly of Hungary barred trans applicants from lobbying to the civil registry to recognize their lived identity.

But according to Reuters, judges with the Constitutional Court claimed the retroactive aspects of the law are “unconstitutional.” Essentially, while the government can stop people from updating their gender markers in the future, officials said the law does not apply to those whose gender is already corrected.

While local LGBTQ+ groups noted that the victory is incomplete without voiding the law in its entirety, they remain optimistic. In an emailed statement, the Háttér Society noted that the court’s decision specifically cited its own 2018 ruling “which declared that having the possibility to change ones gender and name is an unrestrictable fundamental right for transgender people.”

“Háttér Society will pursue litigation in order for the Constitutional Court to declare the entire Section 33 unconstitutional,” said its board member, Tamás Dombos.

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LGBTQ+ groups say the decision denies “freedom of expression” and conflicts with the “prohibition of discrimination” guaranteed by law.

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Although advocates stress that Section 33 is “not completely eliminated,” Friday’s ruling will have a major impact on the lives of people who had already applied for a gender change — or been approved — prior to May 2020. Virtually all forms of legal documentation in Hungary are tied to the civil registry, and the decision affects everything from marriage and death certificates to drivers licenses and bus cards.

LGBTQ+ organizations feared that denying people identification that matches their gender presentation could lead to discrimination and even violence. In a survey of 28,000 trans people in the United States, the National Center for Trans Equality found in 2015 that 40% of respondents had been harassed while showing an uncorrected ID.

Despite these small steps forward, LGBTQ+ people will continue to face extreme challenges under Hungary’s increasingly far-right regime, which has routinely targeted vulnerable people in recent years. President Viktor Orban’s government banned queer couples from adopting last year and forced the publisher of a children’s book that depicted two gay princes and a doe that wished to become a buck to print a label warning parents it contains LGBTQ+ inclusive content.

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