“The only way to support each other is to fully understand each other”

“The only way to support each other is to fully understand each other”

“The LGBT + community ideology is more destructive than communism”, these were the words president Andrezj Duda used in his campaign speech. As the political leader of the PiS party (law and justice) in Poland, he won the majority of the votes with his conservative-nationalist agenda which is based on catholic values. The party is one of Poland’s most conservative parties and opposes LGBT + rights, in particular same-sex marriages. Recently, President Duda signed a law which prohibits gay couples from adopting a child. Duda’s statement about the new law shows that it is signed because he worries about the safety and well-being of the child. He also banned teaching about LGBT + issues in schools.  And in 2019, Poland declared some “LGBT-free zones” wherein 2020 almost one hundred municipalities adopted these “LGBT-free zones” which leads to a third of the country.

Sebastian, Filip and Konrad are polish and part of the LGBT+ community, they share their concerns about the current situation in Poland and how they think the European Union can play a bigger role to stop the discrimination. Filip’s family doesn’t know that he loves someone from the same sex, he is kind of scared to be pushed back from his family. Especially his grandmother doesn’t have anything good to say about homosexuality. Sebastian tells that his family is very supportive but worry about the LGBT + discrimination is something which is not their priority. In the video’s below, you hear their reaction to the question of how they feel about the discrimination towards the LGBT + community in Poland.

According to the Treaty of Functioning of the European Union, there is no space for discrimination bases on sexual orientation and will be prohibited in the charter of the human rights article 21. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen gave her first ‘state of union’ speech and called out hatred to build a ‘union of equality’. She continued her speech with the statement: “being yourself is not your ideology, it is your identity” and that there is no space for ‘LGBT+ free zones’ in the European Union. With this statement, she referred to president Duda. Von der Leyen also stopped the funding for six Polish cities because of their support to the ‘free zones’. As Filip and Sebastian mentioned, this means that cities and municipalities can apply for a fund between €5.000 – €10.000 of Europe for citizens project to stimulate debate the civic participation. The main call to be eligible is that it has to be accessible for all EU citizens without any form of discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. The Polish minister of defence Mariusz Błaszczak accursed the decision of the commission and claims that the EU has to “respect all views of the member states, included discrimination”. But according to Filip and Sebastian, the European Unions doesn’t do enough to stop the discrimination. Sebastian says that they are changing some rules for European member states in which you don’t have to get the full majority of the countries voting for other countries to exclude them. Now you can arrange that if you have the majority plus one. For example, Hungary and Poland always protect each other with their veto. So, if you change this, you give the power to the European Union, which I think is a good solution”.

The parada Równości is a Polish foundation which mainly focuses on making equality parades in Poland, which marched through the streets of Warsaw since 2001. The chairman of the foundation Julia Maciocha says that: “It’s an event like Pride but slightly different and more inclusive since in Poland Pride is still a riot, a manifestation, political fight but also we strongly believe that all minorities should fight together as we are fighting against the same oppressor”. The foundation has twelve demands what they postulate and demand to reduce discrimination and hate again the community. Protection against discrimination and exclusion is the country’s duty is one of the demands. But also, marriage and partnerships are the right of each and every citizen and honest sex-education as a human right. Which means that they demand that all schools and kindergarten teach modern, reliable, ideologically neutral, age-appropriate and suited for the students’ intellectual capacities sexual education.

“On the one hand, the situation is simply awful. More and more people are thinking about escaping the country and more and more actually are doing that. Psychological pressure is really high, more than 70% of polish LGBTQ youth are having suicidal thoughts, only 25% of mothers and 12% of fathers are accepting their LGBTQ kids. We are not protected in any way – there is no hate speech low, no law against fake news so the right-wing propaganda is really turning people, even their own families, against LGBTQ-community”. On the other hand, the community is growing strongly, in 2017 there were 7 equality marches (pride) around Poland, in 2019 there were 28. The foundation is now focusing on preparing the safest parade as possible next year. And they apply for grant to establish a structure of Coalition of Marching Cities which focus on supporting and well-being of activists. “I strongly believe that the most important work is being done by regions now so I want to support those regions with knowledge, legal and psychological help so they can safely do their work”.

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