There is a growing tension in Poland between the increasingly active LGBTQ Rights movement and conservatives. It’s a tension that the Catholic Church and Law and Justice, the Polish ruling party, are inflaming and using for political advantage.
With the coming national elections this fall, Law and Justice, a very right-wing populist party, has used the LGBTQ issues as their ammunition for the campaign. The party’s new focus is on what they call “Western LGBTQ ideology” has largely replaced the former party line that focused on their hatred of migrants.
In 2015, this anti-migrant stance helped Law and Justice come to power. But even at the height of Europe’s surge, Poland never saw as many African and Syrian migrants as the rest of Europe, and maintaining public outrage became more difficult to sustain once the flow of migrants to the continent slowed down, so they needed a new issue.
Gazeta Polska, a conservative Polish magazine distributed “LGBT-Free Zone” stickers with its this week’s edition. Gazeta Polska‘s editor-in-chief, Tomasz Sakiewicz, said the campaign wasn’t directed against LGBTQ individuals but against those who try to censor views that are critical of “LGBTQ ideology”. Sakiewicz:
We wanted to prove that censorship in this case exists and we have proved it. What is happening is the best evidence that LGBT is a totalitarian ideology.
The stickers have a black “X” through a rainbow flag.
The magazine is a mouthpiece for the government and receives significantly more advertising placements from state-run companies than other privately-run media.
LGBTQ Pride marches have become a pressure point in Poland, with Law and Justice politicians saying that they unnecessarily encourage public display of sexuality.
Education Minister Dariusz Piontkowski:
These kinds of marches, initiated by groups that are trying to force through their non-standard sexual behaviors, awaken resistance … it’s worth considering if such events should be organized in the future.
Over 30 municipal and regional governments have declared their areas to be LGBTQ-Free Zones. One of those places is Kielce, where a pride parade last week was met with the right-wingers throwing stones at the parade participants. The event has special significance because nearby, the Nazis murdered tens of thousands of Jews and other minorities, including gay people, during World War II. And the killing did not stop with the end of the war. Dozens of Jews were murdered in Kielce in a pogrom on July 4, 1946. The killings convinced many of Poland’s remaining Jews who had survived the Nazi Holocaust that there was no future for them in the country.
Poland ranks second to last out of 28 European Union countries when it comes to equality and non-discrimination. There is no such thing as Marriage Equality in Poland and same-sex partnerships and adoptions by LGBTQ are illegal. The Polish Government is attempting to form a special committee responsible for “curing” gays. Police are compiling a database on LGBTQ individuals and community, and they are preparing a list of jobs unfit for homosexuals. Thousands of LGBTQ Poles have taken advantage of their EU citizenship and have sought asylum in the UK.