Polish regions rescind anti LGBTQ+ statuses to retain EU funding

Three more Polish provinces have ditched their controversial anti-LGBTQ+ policies in response to the European Union's threat to pull billions in funds.

Outdoors, a group of people march, one carrying a rainbow flag
Image: Unsplash - Jake Schumacher

The Polish regions of Podkarpackie, Lubelskie and Małopolska have joined Swietokrzyskie in revoking their self-declared anti-LGBTQ+ statuses.

The country of Poland is infamous for its LGBTQ+ exclusion zones which, according to the European Union, violates the bloc’s values and infringes on the rights of queer citizens.

On those grounds, the EU has threatened to pull €2.5 billion ($3 billion) from the country’s funding which, up until now, has not been incentive enough to revoke their anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

In a special session on Wednesday, September 22, Świętokrzyskie became the first province to scrap the 2019 ruling which opposes “the attempts to introduce LGBT ideology to local government communities and the promotion of this ideology in public life”. 25 ministers voted in favour of removing the homophobic declaration, with no one voting to oppose and three abstaining.

Almost a week later, Świętokrzyskie is joined by the southeastern regions of Podkarpackie and Lubelskie and southerly Małopolska in binning their original anti-LGBTQ+ rulings.

According to Małopolska Councillor Witold Kozłowski, no officials “were ready to take responsibility” for the region’s loss of EU funds, which marks a complete turnaround from their previous actions.

In July, the EU commenced legal proceedings against Warsaw, Poland, and Budapest, Hungary, for the treatment of their LGBT populations, and earlier this month Brussells gave the ultimatum which led to four Polish provinces revoking their anti-LGBT resolutions: change the stance on LGBTQ+ rights or live without EU funding.

The 2019 ruling, which led to anti-LGBTQ+ zones in 100 Polish towns spanning a third of the country, was made to voice the “importance and value of the family”.

Earlier this year, the European Parliament declared the EU an “LGBTIQ Freedom Zone” in response to both the Polish anti-LGBTQ+ zones and also the ongoing homophobic political climate in Hungary.

In a surprising report released by the Council of Europe on Tuesday, September 21, the UK has also been named alongside Hungary, Poland, Turkey and the Russian Federation for anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric specifically relating to transgender people.

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