A third of Poland has officially declared itself an “LGBT-free” zone as local governments adopt resolutions against “LGBT propaganda.”
Nearly 100 Polish municipal or local governments across an area larger than the size of Hungary have now proclaimed themselves to be “free from LGBTI ideology,” and have adopted resolutions that officially enable intolerance and discrimination against LGBTQI people.
Local authorities will refrain from encouraging tolerance and avoid providing financial assistance to NGOs working to promote equal rights. They hope to create a hostile environment for anyone who is not straight or committed to the “natural family”.
The “Atlas of Hate” map, created by LGBTQI activists reveals that a vast swathe of central Europe has become an “LGBT-free zone”. The area has continued to grow despite the European Parliament passing a resolution in December last year to condemn the existence of such zones.
The European Parliament described LGBT-free zones as “a broader context of attacks against the LGBTI community in Poland, which include growing hate speech by public and elected officials and public media, as well as attacks and bans on Pride marches and actions such as Rainbow Friday.”
The European Parliament also urged Poland to “firmly condemn” LGBTQI discrimination and to revoke resolutions which hindered LGBTQI rights, while also instructing the European Commission to ensure that EU funds were not being used for discriminatory purposes.
Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) ignored the initial calls from European Parliament to extinguish their growing anti-gay rhetoric, believing that “LGBT ideology” is a foreign import that threatens Poland’s long-standing culture of Christian values.
The non-binding resolutions, which were already being adopted by municipalities in March 2019, match this rise in anti-gay rhetoric by the (PiS).
PiS leader, Jaroslaw Kaczyński, who won election victory with a campaign centred on extremist homophobic views, condemned pride parades in August last year, telling Polish voters at the time that the LGBTQI community was ‘provoking’ Poland.
“This travelling theatre that is showing up in different cities to provoke and then cry… we are the ones who are harmed by this, it must be unmasked and discarded,” he said.
Equality parades and LGBTQI artworks in Poland are constantly attacked by far-right activists who assault Pride-goers with homophobic chants and explosive projectiles, or routinely destroy pride-installations.
In September last year, patrons at Poland’s pride parade in the city of Lubin were subjected to violent outbursts from far-right counter-protestors who threw eggs, bottles and firecrackers in an attempt to stop the march.
A married couple was sentenced in February this year to just one year in prison each after they were found to have brought three homemade explosive devices to the Lubin Pride parade.
The couple, Karolina, 21, and Arkadiusz, 27, were stopped and searched by non-uniformed police who found explosives made from gas canisters and fireworks.
The explosives, if detonated under controlled conditions, could potentially have killed or injured multiple people within an eight-metre radius.