LGBTQ community fights prejudice on the streets of Poland

Defying the homophobic threats from the far-right, pride marches continue in Poland

August 16, 2019 by Muhammed Shabeer
Hundreds marched in Bialystok pride before marchers were attack by far-right neo-Nazis.

On August 10, Saturday, more than 2,000 LGBTQ rights activists people marched in the Polish city of Plock marking the first Pride Parade in the city. The parade went peacefully amid provocations and threats from homophobic groups led ultra-right conservative sections in the country. Nearly a month ago, on July 20, a thousand member strong Equality March in the North-Eastern city of Bialystok was attacked by far-right groups with flash bombs, glass bottles and rocks.

Saturday’s march in Plock is one of 24 pride parades scheduled to take place this year in Poland. Activists have said that these parades have been scheduled this year to send a strong message to the homophobic people in the country and in defense of gender rights and equality. On July 27, hundreds had protested in Warsaw, the capital city of Poland, against the attack on the pride march in Bialystok. The pride parade in Warsaw itself held on June 8 saw the participation of tens of thousands of people.

Attacks on LGBTQ resistance

LGBTQ rights groups and activists in Poland are constantly facing threats by right wing groups, the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) and by sections of the Catholic Church. The PiS has essentially declared a purge of LGBTQ rights in the country by making it their major campaign slogan in the upcoming national elections in October.

On the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising in the first week of August, Marek Jędraszewski, the archbishop of Krakow warned about the ‘rainbow plague’ (LGBTQ flag) which “is making its way in the country to control our souls, our hearts and minds after the ‘red plague’ [communism].”

Earlier, the chairman of Poland’s PiS, Jaroslaw Kaczynski labelled the LGBTQ rights movement a foreign import that threatens the country.

“We are dealing with a direct attack on the family and children – the sexualization of children, that entire LGBTQ movement, gender. This is imported, but they today actually threaten our identity, our nation, its continuation and therefore the Polish state,” he said.

According to GayStar News, there have been several recent homophobic incidents reported in Poland.

In December 2018, Poland along with Hungary, insisted on the removal of ‘LGBTIQ’ from a joint statement from the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) meeting held in Brussels.

However, despite the constant attacks against LGBTQ existence and resistance, things are beginning to change. The recently founded, Wiosna (The Spring) party declared full support and solidarity to the LGBTQ movement in the country. The center-left party founded on February 3, 2019 in Poland won three seats in the European Parliament elections held on May 26.