Prague: Czech President Milos Zeman has sparked outrage and controversy after calling transgender people “disgusting” in a recent TV interview. Notably,  Zeman was responding to questions about a recent law passed in Hungary which bans the public portrayal of homosexuality. He said he backed the legislation, which has been condemned by EU leaders. “If you undergo a sex-change operation you are basically committing a crime of self-harm,” Zeman told CNN Prima. “Every surgery is a risk and these transgender people to me are disgusting.”Also Read - Months After Marriage, Man Learns ‘Wife’ is a Transgender, Files Case Against in-laws for 'Duping' Him

“I can understand gays, lesbians and so on. But do you know who I do not understand at all? These transgender people,” he later told CNN, describing transgenders as “intrinsically disgusting to me”.

Zeman’s comments came as several cities around the world celebrated Pride with parades and marches aimed at gaining visibility for the LGBTQ community and marking the 1969 Stonewall riots. Prague’s Pride festival is planned for the first week of August.

Many slammed his comments, and instead called his statements ‘disgusting’. Some citizens of the country also apologized on behalf of their president, with one saying, ”I call my country’s president disgusting, am deeply ashamed of him and sorry to everyone who reads this.”

Another user wrote, ”The disturbing developments in Hungary against LGBTQ communities, coupled with these disgusting comments, show populist hatred & right wing demagoguery still on the rise. Complacency is not an option. People are who they are, love who they love.

The Hungarian law bans all educational materials and programs for children that are considered to promote homosexuality, gender reassignment and the concept of sexuality deviating from the one assigned to a person at birth. It has met fierce criticism from other members of the EU.