Polish newspaper Gazeta Polska refuses to remove "LGBT+ Free Zone" stickers despite court injunction

Warsaw District Court has ruled that Gazeta Polska must stop distributing “LGBT-Free Zone” stickers.

'LGBT-Free Zone' sticker featuring a black cross over a pride flag

The conservative Polish publication Gazeta Polska has said that it won’t stop distributing anti-LGBT+ stickers to its readers, going against an injunction by the Warsaw District Court.

LGBT+ activist Bartosz Staszewski brought a complaint to the court about the anti-LGBT+ stickers. The sticker, which features a black cross superimposed over a rainbow flag, infringed upon his personal rights as a gay man. 

Staszewski believes that the stickers are part of a much wider campaign supported by the conservative Polish Law and Justice party, along with the Catholic Church, to demonise the country’s LGBT+ community.

The LGBT+ activist also remarked on the similarities between the current situation in Poland and that of World War II Germany: “These stickers remind me of the worst things I read in the history books against Jews in the 1930s” 

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”.

Gazeta Polska is a popular publication in the country and has a circulation of around 110,000. They have said that they refuse to comply with the court’s injunction to remove the sticker from the publication. The newspaper, which frequently receives state-agency advertising, has said that LGBT+ rights movements “have all the features of a totalitarian ideology.” They openly support the Polish Law and Justice party (PiS) whose policies explicitly discriminate against immigrants and LGBT+ people.

Leader of the Polish Law and Justice party (PiS) Jarslaw Kaczynski speaking about LGBT+ ideologies said “We are dealing with a direct attack on the family (and) on children: this sexualising, the LGBT+ movement, everything together with gender (theory), this whole movement questioning every kind of affiliation.” 

He also continued to say that LGBT+ rights moments “threaten our identity, our nation, its continuation and therefore the Polish state.”

Although it is positive that Warsaw district court has ordered the newspaper to cease distributing the stickers, their refusal coupled with growing anti-LGBT+ sentiments in the country are a worrying development. Recently a number of regional governments in Poland declared themselves as “LGBT+ free,” while there have been attacks on Pride marches and on “LGBT+ ideology.” 

Staszewski, who brought the publication to court, has said that the right-wing establishment in Poland “needs an enemy, someone to fight against, someone they can use to raise fear”.

A number of retailers in Poland have been boycotting the publication.

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