Poles are fighting for LGBTQ+ rights.
On Saturday, nearly 7,500 people marched in Gdansk in Poland’s north for the LGBTQ+ community.
Protester held pride flags and slogans “We make love, not war” and “Jesus would walk with us”.
The protesters were met with counter protesters. One protester said:
I am not against homosexuals, these are just ordinary people like us. But I don’t want to them to get to our childrenProtester *Margaret* (name given to SBS)
40 – year – old, Nikodem Mrozek said that society’s attitudes were getting better. Unfortunately, Polish politicians still demonised LGBTQ+ people.
The state of LGBTQ+ rights in Poland right now
The state of LGBTQ+ rights in Poland isn’t good. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) ranked Poland as one of 5he worst among members of the European Union.
Sexual relations between members of the same sex have been legal since 1932. The age of consent is fifteen, regardless of gender or sexuality.
However, the influence of the Catholic Church on Polish politics and society often trump the LGBTQ+ Poles.
According to Stonewall UK, same – sex marriage isn’t legal. Same – sex relationships aren’t recognised legally aat all. Same – sex couples can’t adopt children jointly or through second parent adoption.
It’s implied that all Polish citizens are equal under law and should be free from discrimination. However, Polish law doesn’t protect people based on gender or sexual orientation. Trans and gender diverse people have no legal protection from discrimination.
There is no law granting gender affirmation recognition. However, legal documents, such as birth certificates can be amended, but it has to be approved by the court.
LGBTQ+ rights has been a constant fight
In Poland, LGBTQ+ rights is a constant uphill battle.
Last year, anti – LGBTQ+ sentiments were heatimg up in Poland. There were debates in capital, Warsaw about banning Pride parades and prevent gatherings.
There’s been a history of ‘LGBT – free zones’. However four provinces back – pedalled declaring ‘LGBT – free zones’ after the EU threatened to pull funding. ‘LGBT free – zones’ can be seen as violating the EU’s anti – discrimination laws.
Despite pressure on conservative Polish politicians, LGBTQ+ Poles still haven’t felt safe. “I don’t feel that I can fully be myself”, one gay Polish man told the BBC last year.
Members of the Catholic Church fear – mongered about LGBTQ+ people, liking them to ‘Marxists’ and ‘paedophiles’. There was also fear – mongering over the destruction of the nuclear family.
What is (was) an LGBT – free zone
In 2020, a third of Poland was considered LGBT – free zones. The ideology was symbolic, rather than legal.
LGBT – free zones were areas where Pride events were banned. No one could ‘promote’ homosexuality.
As a result, many LGBTQ+ Poles felt pushed back into the closet. It was backed by then – President, Andzej Duda, who compared ‘LGBT ideology’ to Communism.
I hope LGBTQ+ Poles get rights and acceptance. However, more protests and defiance will likely need to take place. Homophobia and transphobia seem to be imbedded in Polish society. That may be hard to shake. But maybe the protest on Saturday was a start.