Gazeta Polska has announced that the July 24 edition of their weekly newspaper will include stickers featuring a black cross over a pride flag, with the words ‘LGBT-Free Zone’ in Polish.
The newspaper, which has a circulation of around 110,000 people, has shown open support for the extremely conservative, and popular, Polish Law and Justice Party (PiS), who pursue policies explicitly discriminatory to immigrants and LGBT+ people.
PiS chairperson Jaroslaw Kaczynski has stated that “we are dealing with a direct attack on the family and children”, claiming the mere existence of the LGBT+ community sexualises children. He also denounced the LGBT+ community to “threaten our identity, our nation, its continuation and therefore the Polish state.”
And unfortunately, it’s clear that the Law and Justice Party still remains well-liked in Poland; around 30 cities, particularly in the country’s working-class eastern regions have declared to be “free from LGBT ideology” that due to its “social engineering that’s foreign to Polish culture and natural order”. This notion that LGBT+ culture is unnatural and cannot intertwine with Polish culture poses a serious threat to LGBT+ people in the country, where same-sex marriage is still outlawed.
Many have denounced the blatant homophobia of establishing ‘LGBT-Free Zones’ – with US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Masbacher expressing his disappointment and concern at the promotion of “hatred and intolerance”. “We respect freedom of speech, but we must stand together on values such as diversity and tolerance,” Masbacher expanded.
On Twitter, Mateusz Goździkowski compared a picture of one of the stickers against a ‘Jew-free zone’ in Nazi Germany with the caption “so far, yet so close”.
Jedno ze zdjęć pochodzi z dodatku do Gazety Polskiej, czasopisma powiązanego z PiS. Drugie zdjęcie jest dziełem nazistów. Polska XXI w. i Niemcy lat '30 XX w. Tak daleko, a tak blisko 🙁 pic.twitter.com/e0uzM49Qqe
— Mateusz Goździkowski (@MateuszGozdzik) July 17, 2019
Furthermore, one of the few openly gay deputies in the Polish parliament, Paweł Rabiej, tweeted that he would complain to the prosecutor’s office the next day. Rabiej also drew parallels between the Gazeta Polska stickers and the persecution of Jews by the Nazis and the oppression of black people through apartheid.
Still, when Instagram took down a post featuring the ‘LGBT-Free Zone’ stickers due to violations of hate-speech policy, Gazeta Polska‘s editor Tomasz Sakiewickz responded that “censorship was typical of Nazism”.
“Nobody today is closer to Nazism, especially in the version of Ernst Röhm, the precursor of the Hitler Party, than those who persecute others for rejecting the LGBT ideology,” Sakiewickz continued. Röhm, the gay leader of the SA, Hitler’s paramilitary crucial in his rise to power, was assassinated in the Night of the Long Knives. Sakiewickz’ misuse of such an abhorrent figure to represent the LGBT+ community and our supposed “ideology” creates an extremely warped statement that further propagates homophobia in Poland.
At the face of explicit discrimination against the LGBT+ community in Poland, activist Bartosz Staszewski reminds us that the right-wing establishment just “needs an enemy, someone to fight against, someone they can use to raise fear”.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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