After a brief warm-up, Racz, who identifies as pansexual, tells the dance students about the history of the ballroom scene

It became popular across U.S. cities in the 1970s mainly with black and Latino drag queens who sometimes faced prejudice even within the LGBT community. The vogue craze entered the mainstream after the 1990 cult documentary Paris Is Burning and Madonna’s black-and-white music video, Vogue.

„Find yourself in vogueing,“ Racz tells her students as they start to improvise. „That is what’s most important: discovering yourself in these movements.“

Racz practices what she preaches, and vogue has become an important part of her identity. „In my previous relationship, we fought a lot about vogue, how it was more important for me than the relationship,“ she says. „But I have a strong personality, so he didn’t get very far, the poor thing.“

The amendments approved by parliament, which Prime Minister Orban has said would protect children and families, restrict the distribution of media and educational materials showing „diversion from one’s biological sex, change of gender, [and] propagating or portraying homosexuality

„If we went to a heterosexual nightclub or if people would see us on the street, bad things could happen,“ Racz says. „But we try to protect each other and the community, so we perform in safe places, often gay bars.“

Or in July last year, when there was an attempted attack on a Budapest apartment that was displaying a rainbow flag in its window.

According to a 2019 study, 22 percent of Hungarian LGBT students have endured physical abuse, and 82 percent have experienced verbal abuse, yet only one-third reported these incidents to their teachers, parents, or other adults.

Members of the LGBT community are concerned that the April 3 referendum will only serve to demonize them even more. The four referendum questions being asked of Hungarian voters concern the teaching of LGBT issues in schools and have been criticized for stigmatizing the LGBT community by implying that they try to force ideologies on children.

„These questions are invalid and insensate,“ says Johanna Majercsik, a spokesperson and board member of Budapest Pride, which is among 11 Hungarian organizations urging voters to give invalid answers to the referendum questions.

In recent years, Hungary has adopted laws that have been widely criticized as homophobic and transphobic, including the abolition of legal recognition for trans people in e-sex couples in .

Most controversially, legislative amendments adopted in provoked huge criticism within Hungary and an unprecedented outcry internationally, with many German soccer teams illuminating their stadiums with rainbow colors during the UEFA European Football Championship.

Bad things, like in , when two gay doctors in Pecs, a city in southern Hungary, were beaten in a homophobic attack

“ Tacked onto a law on protecting children, critics of the amendments have said they conflate queerness with pedophilia. Under fire from the European Union, Orban’s government is hoping to legitimize the amendments with a high level of popular support in the upcoming referendum.

„This law and the referendum make homophobia and transphobia presentable,“ Majercsik says. „Those who have already been hostile to the community, feel entitled to verbally abuse someone on the street or spit on them.“

As afternoon turns into evening, the Sunday ball is the biggest one yet. The contestants wear formal dresses, aerobic suits, with many of the garments either vintage or custom-made. A competing couple both wear fake mustaches, a tribute to Freddie Mercury. Some of the dancers who are competing in many categories have to change their costumes multiple times, running off to the makeshift dressing rooms.

While her dance students all cheer, Racz walks onto the stage in white, high-heeled boots, lace garters, and a purple fur coat. Racz is one of the five judges this evening, along with drag queen Miss Victoria Rose, who is known locally as the „queen of vogue“ and regularly performs around Budapest.

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