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Anger after Czech President Miloš Zeman calls transgender people 'disgusting'

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By Euronews
Zeman was responding to a question about a law passed in Hungary which bans portrayals of homosexuality.
Zeman was responding to a question about a law passed in Hungary which bans portrayals of homosexuality.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Lisa Leutner

Czech President Miloš Zeman has caused fresh controversy by describing transgender people as "disgusting" during a television interview.

Zeman was responding to questions about a recent law passed in Hungary which bans the public portrayal of homosexuality.

The legislation has been harshly criticised by senior figures within the European Union.

But during an interview with CNN Prima News on Sunday, the Czech President said that the EU was making a serious mistake by interfering in member states' internal affairs, and defended Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

"I don't see any reason to disagree with him," Zeman stressed, adding that he can "understand" gays and lesbians.

"But you know who I don't understand at all? Transgender people," he later said, saying that he found them "intrinsically disgusting".

"If you undergo a sex-change operation you are basically committing a crime of self-harm," Zeman told CNN Prima.

His comments come as several cities around the world celebrate Gay Pride with parades and marches aimed at improving visibility for the LGBT+ community.

The Pride march in the Czech capital city, Prague, is scheduled to take place during the first week of August.

According to the advocacy group ILGA-Europe, local rights activists fear that the Czech Republic could follow Hungary and Poland in its attitude towards the LGBT+ community.

While more than half of the EU's 27 member states have opposed the Hungarian law banning any educational materials for children that promote homosexuality, the Czech Republic did not.

"Viktor Orbán says that he is not against homosexuals, but that he is against the manipulation not only of parents but also of children in sex education," said Zeman's spokesperson on Twitter.

"I see no reason not to agree with him," he added.

The Czech President has previously generated headlines for casting doubt on his government's stance that Russia was Rinvolved in a 2014 explosion at an arms depot.

Czech prime minister Andrej Babis had said that there was "irrefutable evidence" to charge two Russian GRU intelligence agents over the deadly blast.

But the pro-Russian President has suggested the explosion could have been an accident, comments which were condemned by Czech lawmakers.

Additional sources • EFE