Gay Polish politician asks SF supervisors to reinstate Lech Walesa street name

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11/04/2021

A gay Polish politician is asking the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to reverse a street name change made seven years ago that saw a gay icon replace a former Polish president. On October 12, Robert Biedro?, a Polish member of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, wrote to the city’s supervisors requesting to revert Dr. Tom Waddell Place to Lech Walesa Street. Biedro? conveyed his “great sadness” for the street name change due to Walesa being a “symbol of the fight for freedom and democracy” for “Poles and many other nations,” he wrote in the letter. In an email interview with the Bay Area Reporter, Biedro? expressed that Walesa is a “living symbol and we should commemorate it,” he wrote, explaining he believes that every city should honor the freedom fighter. “I believe that a street with the name of Lech Walesa should be in all major cities in the world,” Biedro? stated. “He is a symbol of the fight for freedom not only for Poles, but also for many other nations in the world – including Americans.” The B.A.R. previously reported on the street’s name change in 2013, when then-Supervisor Jane Kim became fed up with anti-gay remarks made by Walesa, the former Polish president. The street is a small alleyway near Civic Center Plaza, in District 6, which Kim then represented.

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