The North Cork town of Fermoy has threatened to sever ties with Nowa Deba, its twin town in Poland, over the continued homophobic treatment of LGBT+ people.
Concerns for the LGBT+ community in Poland have risen further since the re-election of the openly homophobic Andrzej Duda as President in a closely fought race. In the run-up to the election, Duda announced “LGBT is not people, it’s an ideology,” his openly anti-LGBT+ views giving further voice to homophobes, while around 30 regional assemblies in Poland have now declared themselves “LGBT Free Zones”, stating they would be free of “LGBT+ ideology”.
In response, the municipal district council in Fermoy discussed the situation and have sent a message to Nowa Deba, one of those towns involved. Fine Gael councillor Noel McCarthy raised the issue, stating, “We twinned with them in 2006. I represent the council on the twinning committee and I think we should be seen not to accept this. In Ireland we have supported gay marriages. We respect everybody’s rights.”
McCarthy continued, “Unless a positive response is issued by Nowa Deba by the time of our September meeting, we will formally cut our twinning ties.”
This is not the first backlash against the country’s treatment of LGBT+ people. In June, the EU threatened to cut funding to Poland over its discriminatory views. Residents from the conservative Polish town of Konskowola claimed the EU was trying to blackmail them.
The Polish embassy in Ireland stated that 77% of Polish people living in this country who took advantage of the postal vote system voted against Andrzej Duda becoming President. This sway toward the more liberal opponent, Rafał Trzaskowski, was reflected across the world as data showed the majority of postal votes were in his favour.
Following the election of Duda, Hubert Sobecki, the head of an Polish LGBT+ rights group shared “There’s always a price for this kind of narrative, and it’s not the politicians who are paying the price. It is us.”
Sobecki continued, “It’s a disaster. You can call it a humanitarian disaster, but that wouldn’t even bring you close to the scope of human suffering those people are inflicting on us as a community. They call us ‘ideology,’ but it’s not the ideology that is beaten up on the street.”
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