Poland’s ‘LGBT-free zones’ energize some activists, prompt others to leave

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10/29/2020

When he took up a yearlong writing residency in Berlin earlier this year, novelist Jacek Dehnel judged the chances he’d return to Poland afterward as 50-50. His home country already did not feel like a place where one could live comfortably as a gay man. More than 100 towns and cities had passed resolutions declaring themselves free of LGBT “ideology.” While Pope Francis has called for civil union laws, staunchly Catholic Poland does not recognize civil unions nor Dehnel’s overseas marriage to his husband. While Dehnel has been in Berlin, things have only gotten more difficult for Poland’s LGBT community. Anti-gay rhetoric from the ruling Law and Justice party — alongside Catholic Church leaders in Poland and state-controlled media — has intensified.

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