Jour Fixe 118 | Sipos Alexandra - Bagyura Márton: A safe space for who? An analysis of Hungarian safe space initiatives for LGBTQI+ people through intersectionality

   2023. június 22. - 2023. június 22.

A Társadalomtudományi Kutatóközpont (MTA Kiváló Kutatóhely) 

Szociológiai Intézete 

tisztelettel meghívja 118. Jour Fixe eseményére


Sipos Alexandra - Bagyura Márton: A safe space for who? An analysis of Hungarian safe space initiatives for LGBTQI+ people through intersectionality


Előadók: Sipos Alexandra, Bagyura Márton 

Hozzászólók:  Takács Judit (TK SZI), Olt Gergely (TK SZI) 

Időpont: 2023. június 22. csütörtök 13:00 

Helyszín: Az eseményt hibrid formában tartjuk meg.

Személyesen: Szociológiai Intézet 1097 Budapest Tóth Kálmán utca 4.;  B.1.15 tárgyaló


Online: Zoom link:


Meeting ID: 830 0925 4847

Passcode: 096665



„A safe space can be defined as a place that is inclusive, free, secure, and enables the free expression of one’s identity, or as Merriam-Webster’s dictionary (2023) states „a place (as on a college campus) intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations”. The paper assumes that safe spaces minimize – in that specific context – prejudice, discrimination, hate speech, and hate crimes. They create a sense of belonging both to a community and to the place of residence. Furthermore, they can contribute to the free expression of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. In comparison, public space and its use are usually characterized by heteronormativity. Normative requirements of sexuality „are spatially produced and maintained, diffusing from particular sites of knowledge/power” (Hubbard 2008:643). The effort to create safe spaces can depend on the willingness and policy priorities of local and national decision-makers. Thus, the establishment of said spaces can be crucial in countries where the rejection of LGBTQI+ people is strong (Eurobarometer 2015, 2019) and where the state does not have the intention to ensure equality and human rights for this group.

Our paper contributes to sexualities studies in geographical and spatial contexts in Hungary by analyzing safe space initiatives. In Hungary, civil and profit-oriented organizations establish safe space projects voluntarily or lead by economic interests due to the absence of willingness of local or national political actors. This potentially leads to unequal access to safe spaces based on spatial and social characteristics. In the analysis, we identify who are the relevant actors in creating safe spaces, specifically for the LGBTQI+ community. Second, we examine Hungarian safe space initiatives and participating entities based on the intended use, spatial and accessibility attributes of said spaces. Third, one case study is conducted focusing on an LGBTQI+ bar that is not part of any of the identified initiatives yet could be considered a safe space for the community. The case study aims to highlight how the notion and the practice of safe space can be different due to intersecting inequalities within the LGBTQI+ community.

The research departs from the 2015 establishment of the Safe Space Programme by a Hungarian LGBTQI+ NGO, Budapest Pride. The initiative’s goal is to render places more visible that condemn discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, colour, religion, or any other protected characteristic. The initial results point towards a high intolerance towards the LGBTQI+ community from both state and general population. This intolerance leads to NGOs creating safe space programs which are often uncoordinated, ad hoc, lack funding, and are characterized by spatial inequalities in their access. As for profit-oriented actors participating in such projects, discrimination can still be present in spaces that are considered safe, especially based on gender, ethnicity, and disability.”