Colm Tóibín and Sebastian Barry join over 70 cultural figures in penning open letter of solidarity and protest for LGBT+ people in Poland

70 renowned cultural figures, such as Colm Tóibín, Sebastian Barry, Margaret Atwood and Judith Butler signed the open letter condemning homophobia in Poland.

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Prolific cultural figures from across America and Europe have voiced their “outrage” at rising homophobic discourse within Poland in an open letter to the European Commission. 

70 prominent cultural figures, including gay Irish writer Colm Tóibín, Irish Booker Prize winner Sebastian Barry, author Margaret Atwood, director Luca Guadagnino, and theorist Judith Butler, have penned an open letter addressing the discriminatory actions being taken against the queer community in Poland. They called on the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to take action towards protecting LGBT+ rights. 

In the letter, the cultural figures write, “Homophobic aggression in Poland is growing because it is condoned by the ruling party, which has chosen sexual minorities as a scapegoat with no regard for the safety and well-being of citizens.”

Queer people in Poland are currently being targeted by a wave of discriminatory language and actions, as a large portion of the country declared themselves “LGBT-free zones”. President Andrzej Duda utilised these homophobic attitudes towards securing his reelection, vowing to ban same-sex couples from adopting among many other restrictive policies. 

In response to this environment, the LGBT+ community have been rallying in protest against their rights being infringed upon. On Sunday, August 16, nationalist supporters in Warsaw, Poland were met by a wall of queer advocates who painted a rainbow on the street ahead of the planned demonstration.

The cultural figures write, “We, the undersigned, express our outrage at repressions directed against the LGBT+ community in Poland. We speak out in solidarity with activists and their allies, who are being detained, brutalised, and intimated.”

Previously, Polish MPs stood in solidarity with the queer community by forming a rainbow at Duda’s reelection ceremony. Though there has been an outpouring of support, various queer activists continue to be arrested by authorities as they fight for their rights

The letter further reads, “We call on the Polish government to stop targeting sexual minorities, to stop supporting organisations that spread homophobia and to hold accountable those who are responsible for unlawful and violent arrests on 7 August 2020.”

“We call on the European Commission to take immediate steps to defend core European values – equality, non-discrimination, respect for minorities – which are being blatantly violated in Poland,” the letter continues.

To further amplify the voices speaking out against authorities, LGBTQ Solidarity Ireland, a group of Polish and Irish queer students, are organising a protest outside the Polish Embassy in Dublin this Thursday at 6.30 PM.

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