How you can help LGBT+ people in Poland right now
The country’s population have just re-elected a staunchly conservative leader who supports the oppression of queer and trans folk. They need your support.
Daniela and Santiago in Marylebone, Natalia Podgórska, Autumn 2017.
There is a map of Poland that sees its municipalities turning red, spreading east across the country. It represents the 100+ areas of the European nation -- a third of it in total, roughly the size of Hungary -- that have been officially marked ‘LGBT-free zones’. These areas are actively suppressing the spread and promotion of LGBT-related issues, be it sex education, human rights, and equality in marriage and adoption. In these spaces, queer people are ostracised; seen as criminals and pedophiles. The right-wing government, headed up by its right-wing Conservative president Andrzej Duda, has supported this. Queer Polish people are being silenced.
We see the rights of queer people being compromised and oppressed around the world every day. In Chechnya, queer and trans folk are tortured for being themselves; and are strongly rumoured to be murdered by the state. On other continents, being gay or transgender is illegal and punishable by death. In the UK, the rights of trans and queer folk are slowly slipping from our hands. But it’s galling to think that barely two hours on a flight from the UK, a central European country that’s part of the United Nations and therefore a signee of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can so flagrantly stoke the flames of bigotry that’s leading to the erasure of a whole community.
Like many countries in the wake of Trump’s election, Conservative ideals and the notion of white, cisgender and heteronormative dominance has continued to shape contemporary politics. What we’re seeing in Poland is the same thing, only the unbridled vocality of its anti-LGBT groups is like something from a horror film. A Pride march in the north-eastern city of Białystok last year erupted in violence after protestors set rainbow flags on fire and stood on them, attacking those who marched and shouting, as this video shows, “F*ggots, fuck off”. This piece in The Guardian gives you a first hand look at what life is like for those who celebrate their queerness in these LGBT-free zones.
The successful re-election of Andrzej Duda promises a bleak future for queer Polish people, and for women too. Amnesty International is worried about the move to abolish abortion in Poland altogether -- even in instances of rape and forced incest.
Youth nationalist groups are sweeping towns and cities during marches, dressed as sanitation workers to intimidate and mock queer people. The newly implemented ‘Family Card’ is designed to promote marriage and child-rearing by cis-het couples, both financially and with the promise of “prohibiting adoption by homosexual couples… [and] propagation of the LGBT ideology’ in public spaces”. A famous anti-LGBT “activist” Kaja Godek told the outlet Polsat News that “Pederasty [a relationship between an older man and a legal teenager] is a first step towards pedophilia… Now homosexuals want to adopt kids. Why? Because they want to abuse and rape them, those are the facts.” She was taken to court for defamation by seven gay men, but the case was thrown out when her lawyers argued that the men could not prove they were gay.
Threats of violence, and the psychological impact on queer and trans people in Poland are massive as a consequence of this, and they need our help to make events there in the country knowledge worldwide. If you want to help, then your best source is this carrd link created to lay out all of the information, with sources, in detail, as well as links to petitions that need signed so that the European Union can hopefully intervene before more damage is done.