Fear and anger have begun to spread among the Polish LGBTQ community as the conservative government in Poland encourages homophobia.
The Re-election of Polish President Duda
For the past few years since Poland’s conservative party, the Law and Justice party, seized power in 2015, tensions have been rising between a growing equal rights movement and the country’s conservatives.
Andrzej Duda was recently re-elected as president in July, snatching up a narrow victory with 51% of the votes. His win was in part due to his campaigning against the LGBTQ community, claiming that “LGBT are not people — they are an ideology” that is supposedly “even more destructive than communism.”
The Family Card
As a part of his campaign, Andrzej Duda signed a document called “The Family Card,” promising to protect “traditional family values” and “the institution of marriage.” He vowed to ban the teaching of LGBTQ issues in schools and prevent same-sex couples from adoption.
“There is not and never will be a marriage of any other kind than the relation of a man and a woman. There is no approval for the adoption of children by the same-sex couples. This is a foreign ideology and there is no possibility that such an occurrence could function in our country.”Andrzej Duda, president of Poland
By attempting to re-define the family to exclude same-sex couples, President Duda has made it quite clear that he will continuously use his position to create an unsafe space for the LGBTQ community. His usage of homophobic rhetoric — namely, claiming that being LGBTQ is an “ideology” — dehumanizes members of the LGBTQ community and creates unnecessary division within Poland.
“The Family Card” affects more than just the LGBTQ community; the document was backed by a conservative Polish organization called Ordo Luris. The organization seeks to ban abortion, prohibit divorce, and prevent the spread of the “LGBTQ agenda.” As the group Ordo Luris grows in power, marginalized groups face the danger of having their rights stripped.
In February of 2020, a third of Poland declared itself to be an “LGBT-free zone.”
Local municipalities across a third of Poland have adopted resolutions “against LGBT propaganda” or “pro-family”, creating what rights groups describe as hostile spaces for anyone who is not heterosexual or committed to the so-called “natural family.”Claudia Ciobanu (Balkan Insight)
Some Law and Justice party officials explicitly encouraged these “LGBT-free zones.” Such open support for homophobic actions has caused an increase in hate crimes against LGBTQ people.
Additionally, the conservative Polish newspaper Gazeta Polska began distributing anti-LGBTQ stickers in their magazines.
As homophobia poisons every part of Poland, from the government to the media, the country will become increasingly unsafe for members of the LGBTQ community.
Kaja Godek and Independent Courts
Kaja Godek is an anti-LGBT and pro-life Polish activist. In May of 2018, she claimed that gay couples want to adopt children to molest them on public news (Polsat News). This false and harmful claim led to her being sued by a group of sixteen LGBTQ activists and several organizations for defamation, which carries a sentence of up to one year in prison.
“Pederasty is a first step towards pedophilia,” [Godek] told Polsat News. “Now homosexuals want to adopt kids. Why? Because they want to abuse and rape them, those are the facts.”Agnieszka Wądołowska (Notes from Poland)
Godek fired back, saying that the group could not claim that they were personally offended by her statement because the individuals could not prove that they were gay. Ultimately, Małgorzata Nowik, a judge at the District Court for Warsaw Praga-Północ, accepted her arguments against the lawsuit and tossed the case out.
By allowing Godek to get away with this homophobic verbal attack, the independent courts have shown that they are unwilling to defend the personal rights of Polish LGBTQ individuals.
How can you help?
- Educate yourself about this issue. Head over to the “Sources” tab on this article to read on where we got this information. Additionally, this Carrd can help you better understand what’s happening in Poland and includes links to petitions and donations.
- Contact your Congresspeople and pressure them to speak out about this issue. You can call or email your politicians.
- Sign petitions to abolish anti-LGBTQ laws in Poland, including:
– Abolish current anti-LGBT laws and protect LGBT people in Poland: http://chng.it/dpB9tv5mTx and http://chng.it/ZLgxrCzdQ2
– Call the EU to intervene: http://chng.it/rwstBcSLHc
- Share and spread awareness about this issue. As more people speak out against the Polish government’s homophobia, we have a greater chance of creating real change for Polish LGBTQ individuals. Send this article to your friends and family, and feel free to repost our social media graphic which can be found on our Instagram (@worldawarenessassociation).
Ayoub, Phillip M. “Attacking LGBT Life Helped the Right-Wing Polish President Win Reelection — Barely.” The Washington Post, The Washington Post, 21 July 2020, www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/07/21/attacking-lgbt-life-helped-right-wing-polish-president-win-reelection-barely/.
Charlish, Alan. “Polish President Says He Would Ban LGBT Teaching in Schools.” Edited by Mark Heinrich, Reuters, Reuters, 10 June 2020, www.reuters.com/article/us-poland-election-lgbt/polish-president-says-he-would-ban-lgbt-teaching-in-schools-idUSKBN23H2BU.
Ciobanu, Claudia. “A Third of Poland Declared ‘LGBT-Free Zone’.” Balkan Insight, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, 25 Feb. 2020, balkaninsight.com/2020/02/25/a-third-of-poland-declared-lgbt-free-zone/.
Kentish, Portia. “Poland’s Ruling Conservatives Go All-in with ‘Traditional Family’ Card. It May Not Be Enough to Keep Their Man in the Presidential Palace – Emerging Europe: Intelligence, Community, News.” Emerging Europe, Emerging Europe, 15 June 2020, emerging-europe.com/news/polands-ruling-conservatives-go-all-in-with-traditional-family-card-it-may-not-be-enough-to-keep-their-man-in-the-presidential-palace/.
Maurice, Emma Powys. “A Third of Poland Has Now Been Declared an ‘LGBT-Free Zone’, Making Intolerance Official.” PinkNews, PinkNews, 25 Feb. 2020, www.pinknews.co.uk/2020/02/25/third-of-poland-lgbt-free-zone-atlas-of-hate-homophobia/.
Noack, Rick. “Polish Cities and Provinces Declare ‘LGBT-Free Zones’ as Government Ramps up ‘Hate Speech.’” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 20 July 2019, www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/poland-lgbt-free-zones-homophobia-hate-speech-law-justice-party-a9013551.html.
Reuters. “Polish Opposition Seeks Re-Run of Presidential Election.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 23 July 2020, www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-07-23/polish-opposition-seeks-re-run-of-presidential-election.
Wądołowska, Agnieszka. “Activist Who Said ‘Gay Couples Adopt Kids to Rape Them’ Will Not Face Trial after Polish Court Rejects Case.” Notes From Poland, Notes From Poland, 29 May 2020, notesfrompoland.com/2020/05/29/activist-who-said-gay-couples-adopt-kids-to-rape-them-will-not-face-trial-after-polish-court-rejects-case/.