Within the past few months Poland’s LGBT+ community has experienced many acts of hostility, aggression and discrimination on an unprecedented scale. The ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) is using the so-called “LGBT+ ideology” in the ongoing election campaign (national elections will be held on 13 October) as a tool to polarise the society and win support of the homophobic right wing very conservative Christian electorate.
Four provinces, nine counties and several municipalities (in the south and east of the country) have adopted resolutions opposing the “LGBT ideology”, and more governments are preparing similar documents. The equality march in Białystok on July 22nd was attacked by hooligans and Neo-Nazi supported and, in a few documented cases, coordinated by local PiS politicians, and praised by local priests. There were insults (“fuck off” and “to gas”), spitting, throwing flares and bottles, beatings (including teenagers).
Deeply concerned by these current developments three European LGBTIQ* networks, including COFACE member NELFA (Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations), ENP (European Network of Parents of LGBTI+ Persons) and the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups sent a common letter to the European Commission.
Some days prior to the letter, Gazeta Polska – a conservative weekly news magazine and supporter of PiS – issued “LGBT-free zone” and “LGBT-ideology free zone” stickers. Meanwhile, the District Court of Warsaw ruled that the paper must stop the distribution (due to a pending case brought by a Polish citizen). But the ones that were sold are in use, shops put them on a display.
NELFA’s member organisation, Fundacja Tęczowe Rodziny, the Rainbow Family Foundation, seated in Poznań, states,
“Hostility towards non-heterosexual minorities is explained as protection against child demoralisation and paedophilia, and degradation of family values. The ruling party’s present strategy is to officially condemn acts of aggression, but at the same time to deny any agency in the events taking place and to do nothing to prevent them in the future. […] With no legal protection and overt hostility towards LGBT+ which is now escalating, Polish LGBT+ families with children are under pressure to either live in fear and in the hiding or emigrate.”
Read the full letter here.