Robert Biedron, the openly gay leader of left-wing political party Spring, has been chosen by three centre-left parties as a candidate for Poland’s presidential elections, due to take place in May.
The nomination is a huge gesture for a country where it has been reported that homophobia is on the rise, including dozens of local governments declaring themselves LGBT-free zones. Same-sex unions are still not legal, while gay couples can not take out loans together or inherit. The current governing party PiS (Law and Justice) is also well known for its anti-LGBT+ stance.
As well as his own party, Robert Biedron has received the backing of the Lewica alliance for his support for women’s rights and the separation of church and state in a predominantly Catholic country. Last year, the archbishop of Krakow said the country was under siege from a “rainbow plague” of gay rights activists. The other party is the SLD (Democratic Left Alliance) who say Biedron has “clear views on the secular state, on social affairs, on the EU, on matters of freedom, including women’s issues.”
Despite the appointment, Biedron has been tipped as the second runner up in the race, with current right-wing President Andrzej Duda the favourite to retain the role, backed by PiS. Fellow candidate Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska is seen as Duda’s main rival for the position.
At the launch of his political party, Spring, last year, Biedron announced, “There is no room for hate, we have reached the limit. We need a spring that will renew this gloomy landscape. In recent years we had a really tough choice. On one hand we had the politics of statistics and economical indicators. On the other hand, we had a grotesque caricature of democracy, with constitutional breaches, limitations on women’s rights, and propaganda instead of public media. Neither one side nor the other solved our problems. We have had enough of this war. We won’t let them run Poland instead of us any more. They’ve all let us down.”
Robert Biedron was also one of the folk who took part in a video featuring celebrities, politicians and activists confronting homophobia in Poland.
In the latest issue of GCN, activist Will St Leger visited Poland and spoke to activists still fighting for equal rights in the face of state-led homophobia.
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