A gay Polish couple traveled to the Vatican to ask Pope Francis for help with an increasingly hostile government in their home country.
Jakub and Dawid Mycek-Kwiecinski are LGBT+ YouTubers and campaigners and recently visited the holy city with a Pride flag and a simple message written on it – “help”.
They unfurled the flag during the Pope’s Angelus Prayer, which he performs from the balcony of St Peter’s basilica. The couple has returned to St Peter’s Square several times in the last week to try and get their message across.
Both Jakub and Dawid said they went to the Vatican to raise awareness for the part Catholic priests and bishops have played in increasing anti-gay hate in Poland.
“Polish bishops called us paedophiles,” they said. “They [bishops] say that we are a disease and even that COVID-19 is a punishment for the world for LGBT sins.
“Meanwhile the Catholic Church has inspired our local authorities to create ‘LGBT Free Zones’ in Poland.”
One-third of Poland has now been declared an “LGBT Free Zone”, despite recent pressure from the EU.
The couple has asked Pope Francis for help as they believe that the treatment of LGBT+ people by certain priests and bishops is not in line with his teachings.
Pope Francis has sent out mixed messages regarding his stance on LGBT+ rights. He has previously said that gay people should not be judged but has also said that gay priests should not be accepted in the clergy.
This is not Jakub and Dawid’s first time documenting one of their campaigns. Earlier this year, they handed out rainbow face-masks in “LGBT Free Zones” and filmed people’s reactions. Some people were grateful, but unsurprisingly, many also reacted with hate.
LGBT+ rights in Poland continues to be a contentious issue, with the ruling Law and Government party holding many actively anti-LGBT+ views. Last week, over 70 cultural figures wrote an open letter in protest of the government’s treatment of LGBT+ people.
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