The ‘LGBTQI exclusion zones’ throughout Poland are the logical extension of excluding LGBTIQ people from public life through ‘religious freedom’.
According to national lobby group Just-Equal’s spokesperson Brian Greig, the conservative push in Poland, backed by the Catholic Church, to ban LGBTQI people from visibility, advocacy and civic space was the inevitable conclusion of a religious freedom narrative which has demonised LGBTQI people around the globe since the rise of marriage equality.
“What is happening in Poland is the politics of exclusion and scapegoating. At the very time communities should be coming together, Poland’s MPs are engaging in social exclusion – targeting the LGBTQI community with religion as their rationale,” Mr. Greig said.
A number of Polish municipalities have passed a swathe of non-binding resolutions which began in 2019, and which coincide with a rise in rhetoric by the governing Law and Justice Party (PiS) denouncing “LGBT ideology” as a foreign import threatening Poland’s ‘Christian values.’ The mood has led to street violence and physical attacks on LGBTQI people.
Speaking recently to the New York Times, Polish gay activist Jakub Kwiencinski, said: “The situation for LGBTI people in Poland is getting worse, I would say day-by-day, the Law and Justice Party are against us…they also encourage people to attack us, to insult us.”
Mr Greig said there are parallels in Australia with the Federal Government’s Religious Freedom legislation, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to pursue.
“Scott Morrison’s Religious Freedom Bill is not benign, and must be scrapped,” Mr Greig said.
“The Religious Freedom legislation drafted by Attorney-General Christian Porter, allows doctors, nurses and pharmacists to refuse to provide essential health services to LGBTIQ people if those services are against their religious beliefs – including hormone treatment to transgender young people.
“The Bill also overrides all existing State and Federal anti-discrimination laws, and will allow religious people to ‘insult, offend and humiliate’ LGBTQI people in the name of religion.
“It builds on existing religious exceptions in the Sex Discrimination Act, giving religious people further legal justification and social license to discriminate, insult and exclude LGBTIQ people from public life,” Mr. Greig said.
This week’s episode of Foreign Correspondent on ABC uncovers Poland’s unholy alliance of Church and State. Watch ‘A New Crusade,’ Tuesday 28 April at 8 pm, on ABC or catchup on iview.