LGBTs in Poland 2

LGBTs in Poland, 2



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A wave of hostility towards LGBTQ people in Poland has alarmed officials and led the American ambassador there to denounce conservative Polish newspapers for stoking hatred in its campaign for so-called “LGBT-free zones”.

Those fears were realized this weekend, as a mob of right-wing Poles attacked a Pride March in the town of Bialystok, one of several districts that have declared themselves to be LGBT-free.

From Bialystok in eastern Poland, special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reporsts.

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Reporter: “God, honor, motherland,” they chanted. Wearing obscene anti-gay T-shirts, some hard-core right-wingers were intent on violence.

Following their lead, thousands of people from Bialystok, including senior citizens, lambasted marchers protesting against the sudden rise of so-called “LGBT-free zones”.

Among those they tried to intimidate, Margorzata Mroz.

Malgorzata Mroz, LGBT Activist: “It makes me sad that people claim those LGBT-free zones in Poland, because me, as a bisexual and also Polish person, I would really love to feel welcome in every single place in this country.”

The marchers were vastly outnumbered, and police protection was essential.

Gay activists claim they have replaced refugees as Poland’s main hate figures.

Malgorzata Mroz, LGBT Activist: “I am scared a bit. I have mace spray with me . . . So yes, as you can see, they are basically shouting ‘Get the f*** out of here’ to me and to other people like me. So I can’t feel welcome in my country.”

As the hostile mood intensified, the police struggled to defend stragglers separated from the main march.

The mob set off in pursuit of one small group of gay pride campaigners seeking safety.

But they spotted an officer pinning down a hard-liner, and the first skirmish of the afternoon began.

Police arrested thirty people.

This exemplified the hatred and intolerance that concerns the U.S. ambassador and the openly gay deputy mayor of Warsaw, who compared it to the behavior of the Nazis in the Second World War.

The issue of gay rights has been bubbling beneath the surface in Poland for years. But recently, it’s just exploded and gone to the forefront of the political agenda. And this issue has placed Poland into conflict with mainstream Europe.

When Poland’s populist Law and Justice Party came to power in 2015, it declared its ambitions to Christianize the European Union. In towns like Bialystok, they abhor what they regard as mainstream Europe’s decadent values.

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At Parliament in Warsaw, influential Law and Justice politician Zdzislaw Krasnodebski said Europe favored constitutions, but was hypocritical when it came to Poland.

Zdzislaw Krasnodebski, Member, European Parliament: “Our constitution in Article 18 states the marriage is only between a man and a woman. For me, it’s very interesting that, in this case, there’s no interest in what actually our constitution is talking about.

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Government critics say such arguments have emboldened protesters, like Lukasz Marcinkiewicz, who is studying medicine in Bialystok.

Lukasz Marcinkiewicz, Medical Student: “It makes me sad when I see a situation where we have two people, two men together or two women together, and they declare love for each other.

There is no biological possibility for them to have a child. So I realized this is not what families should look like. I strongly support the model where there is one woman, one man, and babies.”

Kamil Sienicki, All Poland Youth Movement: “We think that LGBTQ movements have a very long tradition of profanity toward state symbols. They turned Poland’s national red-and-white flag into a colorful, rainbow flag and desecrate Catholic and Christian symbols.”

He has in his sights Daniel Rycharski, an artist who wears prayer beads made of the blood of homosexuals and who portrays saints as gay icons.

Daniel Rycharski, Artist: “What is going on around the LGBT community appalls me, the fact that the governing party uses us as electoral fuel, because of the fact that the government works closely with the Church, and the Church is its authority.

The Catholic Church’s teachings says it explicitly. You could say it has incited hatred against LGBT people.”

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The anti-gay sermons of some priests are frequently rabid. Wieslaw Dawidowski, who leads Poland’s Order of Saint Augustine, is a man of peace. But on this issue, he says he’s neither moderate nor liberal.

Father Wieslaw Dawidowski, Order of Saint Augustine: “I would quote Pope Francis. And I would say here, I’m not a judge. And I cannot judge people. If people want to live this way of life, all right, they live this way of life with the full consequences.”

Thirty miles (48 km) away from Bialystok is rustic, God-fearing Kulesze Koscielne, where ninety percent (90%) voted for the ruling party.

Elzbieta Mierzwinska, Resident: “What’s new isn’t always good. And Poland always stood firmly on tradition, religion, right?”

Kazimierz Trzaska, Resident: “I would find some remote islands. I would take gay men to one island and lesbians to the other. Let them live there.”

Still inspired by the conservative vision of the late Polish Pope, John Paul II, the Catholic Church is engaged in a battle for Europe’s identity.

Father Wieslaw Dawidowski: “This is a certain, pivotal moment in our relationship. I think the old Europe, which is called the ‘old lady’ which is a dying Europe, by the way, has to redefine what she really wants.

And it’s the question of the Brussels elites. It is also a question of the church elites: What is this that we want in Europe for the future, the issues that concern human values?”

“Freedom, equality and tolerance,” chanted the pride marchers. They yearn for the right to have same-sex marriages.

But given the levels of prejudice in Poland right now, that looks like an impossible dream.

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11. Eleventh Question. The US Ambassador to Poland is probably a conservative Republican. What do you think?

12. Twelfth Q. What had happened in Bialystok, Poland? Why were LGBT Rights activists and supporters protesting there?

13. Thirteenth Q. Only young men counter demonstrated against the gay marchers. Is this right or wrong? Was it entirely peaceful or was there violence?

Fourteenth. Has the issue of LGBTs in Poland always been this polarized?

Fifteenth. What is the government’s position towards homosexuality? What do they say about it?

Sixteenth. The Catholic Church defends, sympathizes with and supports LGBTs. Is this correct or incorrect? Do they remain silent? Is there de jure and de facto separation between Church and State or is the Church very influential?

Seventeenth. Do all of Europe agree with the conservatives of Poland? Is the European Union indifferent or concerned about developments in Poland?


T. Monday. What is the attitude towards LGBTs in your nation? They are embraced and completely accepted. They are tolerated. In the middle. There are mixed feelings towards them. They are looked down up. Or, they are persecuted and discriminated against.

U. Tuesday. Is there much public discourse about LGBTs and LGBT issues?

V. Wednesday. What are the positions of the government, religion and society towards gays? Do attitudes differ or is are attitudes united?

W. Thursday. Are gays prominent in public life, culture, arts, media, politics, sports?

X. Friday. Are there famous gays in your nation’s history? Where they open or secretive about their orientation?

Y. Saturday. Should nations adopt the Dutch attitude, the Georgian one, in between, both or neither?

Z. Sunday. What might happen in the future?

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