“LGBT-Free” Declarations Repealed In Poland: A Step Forward? Or A Cruel Game?

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10/07/2021

Last Monday, three Polish regional councils voted not to declare their provinces “LGBT-free zones” following the European Union’s threats to cut up to €126 million in funding to the local governments. This is a change for the Podkarpackie, Lubelskie, and Małopolskie regions, which first passed the resolutions, intended to “protect heterosexual family values,” in 2019. Local authorities perceive the E.U. resolution to declare the whole European Union an “LGBTIQ Freedom Zone” as an attack on “traditional” Catholic values. The regions’ change of response is widely supported by the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party, which recently passed a controversial law banning abortion. Officially, a newly updated resolution claims that there is “[a] special need to protect schools and families and the right of every person to self-determination,” Polish news agency P.A.P. reported. “At the same time, we support the right of parents to raise their children according to their beliefs,” P.A.P. quoted the document. Poland has been ruled by the ultra-conservative right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party since 2015. Once the most popular party, support for PiS now fluctuates between 30 and 35 percent thanks to its poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the near-total abortion ban, and tensions within the ruling camp. But with the next parliamentary elections set for fall 2023, the party is trying to gain more left-leaning support. Such political maneuvering should not blur the vision of the public, which still anticipates hypocrisy even in more liberal-looking government actions. “Politicians are playing with us,” Polish LGBT activist Bart Staszewski told the B.B.C. “I mean they don’t want to revoke the whole resolution, they just want to replace it with another one.”

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