Dieter Reiter confirmed on Sunday (20 June) that he was seeking permission from the UEFA to fill the arena with colour to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, following Hungary’s recent legislation banning “content promoting gender change or homosexuality” within the school curriculum.
The archaic bill, which was passed last week, aims to tackle paedophilia within the country and includes amendments banning representation of any sexual orientation, besides heterosexuality, and sex reassignment information in schools. It also applies to films and advertisements aimed at anyone under the age of 18.
Condemned by LGBTQ+ activists, the new bill arrived as Viktor Orbán’s ruling party continues to curtail the rights of LGBTQ+ citizens. In response, Budapest mayor Gergely Karacsony called it a “shameful day” and said “the opposition’s place is not in the parliament but on the streets.”
“This is an important sign of tolerance and equality,” Reiter told news agency dpa.
Munich’s city council already called for the stadium to be lit in rainbow colours. In their application, they accused Hungary of “following the example of Russia’s homophobic and transphobic legislation”.
Russia’s “gay propaganda” law, which was passed in 2013, bans disseminating “propaganda on non-traditional sexual relations” among Russians.
“It is important for the state capital Munich to set a visible sign of solidarity with the LGBTI community in Hungary, which is suffering from the current stricter homophobic and transphobic legislation of the Hungarian government,” said the council.
“This legislation represents a new mark in the invisibility and disenfranchisement of lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) and adds to the systematic restriction of the rule of law and fundamental freedoms that practised for years in Hungary.”
Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has already shown solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community; for his team’s games against France, Portugal and Latvia, the player wore a captain’s armband in rainbow colours, which prompted UEFA to investigate whether he’d ‘breached’ their rules.
“UEFA have today shared with the DFB that they have stopped the review of the rainbow captain’s armband worn by @Manuel_Neuer,” Germany’s football team wrote on social media shortly after. “In a letter, the armband has been assessed as a team symbol for diversity and thus for a ‘good cause.’”
The UEFA added: “UEFA looked into the armband worn by the player in question and, considering that it was promoting a good cause, i.e. diversity, the team will not face disciplinary proceedings.”
The Allianz Arena stadium in Munich has been lit in the rainbow colours in several occasions, including 9 July 2016 for Berlin Pride.
Following in the footsteps of Mayor Reiter and the Munich City Council, there’s currently a petition campaigning for the stadium to be lit up for the Euro 2020. As of writing, the petition boasts over 95,000 signatures of its 150,000 end goal. You can sign the petition here.