LGBT-free zones in Poland: EU responses with the withdrawal of funds
Polish government is about to be replacing said funds with state support
by: Marta Rodriguez
The year 2020 has been plagued with an assortment of events that have shaken the world like never before. Whilst most of the world is centred on halting the spread of the deadly coronavirus that has now become normal in our daily lives, radical populist parties and organizations have seized their chance to spread hate and discrimination. So did happen in Poland, where many towns declared themselves 'LGBT-free' over the summer when President Andrzej Duda (candidate of the right-wing Law and Justice Party) won the presidential elections for the second time.
Photo courtesy of Teddy Österblom via Unsplash
Poland was one of the first countries to decriminalise homosexuality in Europe (1932) and in 2019 held ‘the largest Pride march in Central and Eastern Europe’. But now, a few months after Duda’s re-election, more than 100 towns have declared themselves ‘LGBT- free zones’. People in favour of these zones declare that homosexuals threaten their community and their way of life. Some people believe that there is an ‘aggressive ideology promoting homosexuality [which] threatens the traditional heterosexual Polish family.’ Others say that ‘homosexuality is a sickness that can be treated, “but it requires goodwill.”
In the face of this hate, Polish LGBT+ people have found themselves with two options: either hide, go back into the closet and flee the country or go out to the streets in pacific marches. In these protests, they give out doughnuts with colourful sprinkles and carry flags and colourful balloons whilst counterdemonstrators insult and scream at them from across the street.
A few weeks ago the head of the European commission Ursula von der Leyen declared that ‘Poland’s “LGBT-free zones” are “humanity-free zones” that have no place in the European Union.’
She made it clear that being yourself is not an ideology but an identity and these LGBT-free zones have no place in the Union as they are an attempt against basic human rights.
This has come together with a removal of European funding to the third of the country, who has declared themselves LGBT-free.
To this Duda responded by giving these areas state funding instead and accusing Brussels of discrimination against Poland.
We are now left awaiting for more news about this situation which does not seem to be getting better anytime soon.