Poland is one among 28 European Union states, with a population of about 38 million. The country ranks second to last in the European Union when it comes to equality as well as non-discrimination, according to Rainbow Europe. Rainbow Europe is an organisation that is linked to International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. Same-sex marriage while legal in 27 European Union countries, is still outlawed in Poland.
“refusal to recognise that LGBTQ people need to be protected. This group is systematically excluded. Hate crimes against sexual minorities are not reported because police aren’t required to report it.”
-Kucharczyk, Institute of Public Affairs, as reported by Times
Pride Parade at Bialystok, Poland:
Last month, Bialystok, an eastern polish city, had its first Gay Pride parade. Over 800 supporters were marching through the city while waving rainbow flags, and showcasing banners with messages such as “love is not a sin”. However, the situation turned ugly, when soccer hooligans donning nationalist T-shirts attacked the supporters and policemen, by throwing firecrackers, bottles, and even stones. Local religious groups contested against the idea of hosting a gay pride parade in Bialystok. Videos on Twitter show men with anti-gay sentiments attacking and screaming insults at the marchers. 25 men were detained by police officers. This parade was one among a total of 24 that are scheduled in Poland this year.
“We are in the middle of an ongoing wave of hateful propaganda, which is fueled by both the state and the Catholic Church,”
-Hubert Sobecki, co-president of LGBT+ organization ‘Love Does Not Exclude’, as reported by CNN
Click here to know more about Poland’s first parade: Poland LGBTQ+ Community Deserves Better
Polish cities declare itself ‘free of LGBT ideology’:
Government officials from about 30 town councils, regional assemblies and villages have declared themselves as ‘free of LGBT ideology’ as a response to anti-catholic LGBT parades. ‘Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH)’, a polish LGBT+ non-profit civil rights group, reported that Swidnik, a town in eastern Poland, was the first to declare itself as ‘free of LGBT ideology’ in march.
In fact, Leader of Law and Justice (PiS) party Jaroslaw Kaczynski expressed his strong disapproval of gay rights calling it a foreign import that is a ‘threat’ to the state. The city of Lublin gave awards to some of its Officials who opposed the ‘LGBT ideology’.
KPH also stated,
“Currently crimes committed on the basis of hatred towards religious, ethnic, racial or certain other groups are given a special, more serious status, but crimes motivated by prejudice against the LGBT community carry no additional penalty.”
-As reported by LGBTQ Nation
Polish Magazine distributes ‘LGBT-free Zone’ stickers:
July 24: Gazeta Polska, a conservative Polish magazine, distributed ‘this is an LGBT-free zone’ stickers with its latest weekly Wednesday edition. The sticker features an image of a rainbow pride flag marked over with a black cross alongside the slogan “strefa wolna od LGBT” i.e. ‘LGBTQ-free zone”. In its editorial Wednesday, the magazine also stated., “LGBT is not a minority, it’s a paradigm which appears to have all the features of a totalitarian ideology,”
“I am disappointed and concerned that some groups use stickers to promote hatred and intolerance. We respect freedom of speech, but we must stand together on the side of values such as diversity and tolerance,”
– Georgette Mosbacher, US ambassador to Poland
Response to the free zone stickers:
Companies across Poland including bookstore chain Empik SA, and Canadian fuel retailer Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. have boycotted this stunt. BP plc, that has fueling stations across the country, are blocking sales of this newspaper. They said they do not support such an attitude that displays aversion towards “any group of people.”, as reported by Bloomberg. Even the conservative PiS party, that have faced accusations for promoting anti-gay sentiments, are staying away from the homophobia this magazine has created.
Supposedly, in response to the magazine’s campaign, KPH printed 5000 ‘hate-free zone’ stickers. These will be distributed with Poland’s only LGBT magazine Replika. Pawel Rabiej, deputy mayor for the city of Warsaw, filed a complaint against this act.
Ban of the ‘LGBT-free zone’ stickers:
In a recent hearing, the Polish court has ordered Gazet Polska to stop distribution of these stickers. They have said that the stickers should disappear immediately from all places of sale.
The issue of LGBTQ+ rights is dividing Poland, especially during an election year. While polish attitude towards homosexuality is changing, there still continues to be a backlash. Robert Bierdon, Poland’s first openly gay and atheistic politician said that Poland has come a long way. He sighted the rising number of pride demonstration as proof in itself for the big change we see in attitude. He believes that the best way to reduce these anti-gay sentiments is to “explain to the public that who we’re talking about when we talk about LGBT people.” – as reported by TIME.
Source Credit: ABC, BBC, Bloomberg, Church Militant, CNN,
LGBTQ Nation, NY Daily News, New York Post, Time,
Reuters, RTE, VOA News