On October 29, Polish MPs voted to continue working on the „Stop LGBT“ law, which is another blow to the rights of LGBTI people who have been exposed to various anti-LGBTI rhetoric, especially in the last two years.
The „Stop LGBT“ Citizens' Legislative Initiative, recently debated in the Polish parliament, is a bill banning Pride Marches and other public gatherings that promote LGBTI rights in Poland in any way. 140,000 signatures have been collected for the „Stop LGBT“ initiative, and according to Polish law, it is enough to collect the signatures of 100,000 eligible voters so that legislative proposals can be submitted to parliament.
The situation in Poland is not helped by the fact that conservative activists have great support from the president and the Roman Catholic Church, who call the promotion of LGBTI rights harmful "LGBTI ideology" that threatens the moral and traditional family values of this country. Thus, the fight for the rights of LGBTI people is called "aggressive imposition of one's sexual inclinations".
In the last two years, this has resulted in the introduction of the so-called "LGBT-free zone" where over a hundred municipalities and provinces of Poland have been declared "zones free of LGBT ideology".
It has never been unusual for me to draw a map of moral, traditional and family values by right-wing politicians in election campaigns, but I am disappointed that no one ever looks at where those views come from, and where it is very clear that rights are not only threatened the lives of LGBTI people, but of all citizens of a country ruled by right-wing and nationalist.
It is never superfluous to emphasize how endangering and depriving everyone of their basic human rights actually affects us all. For two years now, I have been intensively monitoring how the Internet is flooded with comments and interviews of the Archbishop, who has a great influence on the public in Poland.
I am also not shocked with his hate speech directed at LGBTI people. It is strange to me that everything manages to be covered up in one moment and that many things go the way they came, but those same people who do it give themselves the right to speak publicly against LGBTI people and have support.
I well remember the video from ABC News media from last year while there was still a lot of talk about the so-called zones that are free of LGBTI ideology. At the same time, cases of pedophilia were investigated due to a video posted on Youtube a year earlier, where information was hidden through a hidden camera about many cases of abuse of minors by priests, their cover-up, and relocation of priests to other cities.
The 2019. documentary "Tell No One" about the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church in Poland managed to exert some media pressure on the church due to its viewership, however, it was not enough, especially when it was revealed that some priests were accused of pedophilia simply just moved to other cities and that was the end of the story.
When the same archbishop was asked in an interview about his views on the rights of the LGBTI community, the answer was that fortunately Poland is no longer affected by the so-called "red plague" but is now a "rainbow plague" that they must fight.
On the other hand, when asked how he explains the contradiction in terms of promoting moral values while at the same time the church itself does not act in accordance with it, his answer was very short - the church did nothing against the law by moving the accused priests to other parishes and that there is a lot of "exaggeration" on this topic.
Then I wonder how someone can take the church and its promotion of moral values seriously when it is not able to adhere to basic, essential moral values, and on the other hand has such an impact on the public with negative attitudes about the LGBTI community and at the same time, the safety and lives of people who are only seeking their basic human rights are seriously endangered.
The only plague here is the wrong governing policy that endangers the lives of all of us in all possible ways and that needs to be fought in all possible ways. Recently, a young woman was one of the victims of restrictive abortion laws in Poland. She died of sepsis due to complications, and doctors have been suspended because they are currently trying to determine whether they have waited so long for a reaction for fear of violating strict abortion laws. The case also sparked protests, but the Polish nationalist government calls it a purely medical error that has nothing to do with the new law.
Of course, the new law implies an almost complete ban on abortion, and this will be discussed later, but the victims of these laws are unfortunately no longer there.
Looking at the satirical website launched by Amnesty International in response to Poland's zones free of LGBTI ideology, I can absolutely agree with its name - "Land of the Absurd". If anyone at any point thinks that promoting LGBTI rights is just aggressively imposing attitudes and immorality as the 'small million' has been said, let them re-examine the same people from whom such attitudes come, because you don't have to be part of the community to recognize that hatred and division do no good to anyone.
This article was written as part of the project "Access to Justice for LGBTI persons in Tuzla Canton", which is funded by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. The article does not necessarily express the views of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, but only the author.