It has taken many years for the LGBTQ+ community to fight for the rights that we experience today and unfortunately, that battle is not over yet. As Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, the Executive Director of UK Black Pride, and Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall said: “We have not achieved equality until every LGBT person, of every colour and background, is able to enjoy equality within our community and outside of it.” a statement that is very true and should be a reminder that we as a community should keep fighting for equality as we have not achieved it yet.
An unfortunate example of where LGBTQ+ rights are being attacked is in Poland. Poland is considered to be the worst country in the EU for LGBTQ+ rights, according to the recent annual index published by ILGA-Europe, a Brussels-based non profit organisation. One-third of Poland has declared itself as an LGBT-free zone; over a hundred of Poland’s local governments have pledged to protect ‘traditional family values’. Luckily there are certain areas of Poland that do provide LGBTQ+ people with the same rights as heterosexuals however there are still rights to be fought for. For instance, there are no protections for health services, hate crimes, and hate speech, there are limited cohabitation rights and same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt.
While the anti-LGBTQ+ activity has been covered by some media outlets, this situation is not being seen or discussed by members of our community outside of Poland as much as it should be, and it is essential that we as a community take notice of these events because the situation in Poland for LGBTQ+ rights, especially after the recent election, is likely to get even worse.
President Andrzej Duda, president of Poland relied on anti-LGBT rhetoric as a core message in his campaign to be re-elected in Poland’s recent Presidential election.
Duda’s main challenger in the election was Rafal Trzaskowski, the centrist Warsaw mayor. Trzaskowski is an LGBT supporter, Warsaw’s first mayor to attend the annual LGBT Equality Parade and in 2019 signed the ‘LGBTQ Charter’, pledging support for LGBT people in Warsaw; this also being the turning point that promoted the Law and Order party (PiS) to launch its anti-LGBT campaign. Duda is a member and close ally to PiS and although at first, he seemed to avoid the topic of LGBT people, he later signed the ‘Family Charter’, direct opposition to Trzaskowski’s stance, which included the pledge to ‘ban the propagation of the LGBT ideology in public institutions’ and oppose same-sex marriage and adoption. During his candidacy, Duda invoked a nationalist program, condemning the country’s LGBT movement as a foreign ideology more destructive than Communism.
The LGBTQ+ community in Poland has always faced the dilemma of deciding whether to leave their family and friends behind and move to another, more accepting country or to remain in Poland and fight for their rights. This decision being made much harder given that Duda has remained in power, backed by the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party who push traditional values and social spending. No-one should have to make this sort of decision and have to fear for their safety off of the basis of their identity.
We encourage you to look further into this topic as this matter threatens the livelihoods of the LGBTQ+ community primarily in Poland and potentially attack the rights of LGBTQ+ people in other countries if left unopposed.
Show your solidarity by asking the European Union for support and sign the All Out Movement