As the EU moves forward in LGBT rights, one country keeps going backward. Activists all around the world are becoming increasingly worried about the fate of the LGBTQ+ community in Poland, where discrimination grows rampant by the day.
When elections happened in Poland last June, one of the central issues discussed was the LGBTQ. This is because Polish president Andrzej Duda’s anti-gay agenda had divided the country between those who support it and those who don’t. Unfortunately, Duda won the elections, and the situation for the LGBTQ is not looking pretty.
Among the many policies aimed at punishing people for their sexual orientation, Dunda has fought against legalizing gay marriage and is fighting for a constitutional amendment that would ban gay people from adopting children. He has even pledged to ban LGBTQ education on schools in order to protect children from “a dangerous ideology.”
While these policies are detrimental to the lives of all LGBTQ in Poland, they are not even the worst thing they have to worry about.
Homophobia is rapidly rising, partly due to the language of the President, and LGBT Poles continue to face incredible discrimination by both civilians and authorities: Gay activists have been arrested for months at a time by police officers who mock and ridicule them.
One example includes a non-binary woman of the group Stop Bzdurom (Stop Bulls**t), who was detained after decorating a statue of Jesus with a Pride flag and a pink anarchist bandana. She was placed in pre-trial jail for two months and had to endure “transphobic comments and jokes.”
According to a report by Reuters, there have been another 48 violent arrests of LGBTQ+ activists.
The group Stop Bzdurom has said that this represents “A campaign of hatred towards sexual minorities has been going on in Poland for a long time,” in an interview with Pink News.
They added that the arrests are “one more form of oppression, to intimidate LGBT+ activists”.
The homophobia in Poland has caused many LGBTQ people to flee Poland to other countries in the EU, which has also pulled much of its funding from 6 Polish towns which declared themselves to be “LGBTQ-free.” Yes, you heard right. What that means is that these towns are openly unwelcoming to the LGBTQ+ community.
What the Poland example is showing is that we must consistently fight for the recognition of LGBTQ+ people in the world, a commitment that Pride Palace has and will continue to follow no matter what happens.