Poland has featured its first-ever gay couple on television in a steamy advertisement for Durex condoms. The advertisement is set to air on major channels in Poland, as well as the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Lithuania.

Despite having a culture of rampant homophobia leading to one-third of Poland declaring itself an “LGBT-Free zone” in February, the nationally-aired condom-advert features famous YouTube couple, Jakub Kwiecinsk and Dawid Mycek.

The advert promotes Durex’s ‘Loud in bed’ campaign and shows three couples getting cosy. Jakub and Dawid, are shown giving each other a quarantine haircut before things get steamy – thank god there’s a fresh pack of latex conveniently at the ready.

You may remember Jakub and Dawid as the Polish couple who created and gave away hundreds of rainbow facemasks during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in April.

The facemasks were not only handed-out to stop the spread of COVID but also to make a statement against homophobia and show solidarity with the LGBTQI community in Europe and across the globe.

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 The couple famously wandered across the tri-city towns of Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot on a mission to remove the stigma of homosexuality after nearly 100 Polish municipal or local governments across an area larger than the size of Hungary were declared ‘LGBT-Free’ around Poland in August 2019.

“Many LGBT-free zones were created in our country so we were a bit afraid how people would react, but they were really touched by our idea. I think they really appreciated that someone cared about their health. It was great to see that the rainbow didn’t scare people but will help them stay safe,” Jakub said. “Many Polish people call us a plague, so we thought if we help people overcome a real plague, they might change their minds. I know it’s naive, but if we can do something good, then why not?”

However, their story goes back much further. Jakub formerly worked as a presenter on the national television network, TVP for nine years.

However, he was immediately sacked from his role for being gay after TVP hired Jacek Kurski to become the company’s president. Kurski is a former member of Poland’s ruling, and extremely conservative, Law and Justice party (PiS).

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 The PiS is responsible for Poland’s notorious “LGBT-Free zones” and even went as far as ignoring 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.

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.

Poland is still a member of the European Union (EU) and therefore maintains power to influence Europe’s economic and political decisions.

While the EU attempted to suspend Poland’s voting rights in EU decisions in 2017 due to a boom in alt-right nationalism and a growing authoritarian presence due to PiS leadership, they were unsuccessful.

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 In 2017, the EU attempted to remove Poland’s power through enacting Article Seven of the European Union Treaty.

This article allows the EU to strip a member-state of voting rights if it is breaking its commitment to maintaining a free-market economy, as well as upholding human rights standards and the rule of law.

Article Seven require a unanimous vote by all European states to be enacted.

However, Poland’s neighbour, Hungary, voted against the motion in 2017 and has since sworn to protect Poland. The reason? Hungary also appears to be  slipping into an authoritarian regime under Hungarian President, Viktor Orbán, and his right-wing ‘Fidesz’ Party’s rule.

As such, Poland continues to receive the economic benefits of EU membership, while failing to uphold its commitments to maintaining the rule of law and human rights.

 

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