Polish village sues activist for erecting signs pointing out their anti-LGBT stance

The village argues that although it announced itself "free from LGBT ideology" it is not an "LGBT Free Zone" as the signs claim.

A roadsign on a Polish village border

The Polish League Against Defamation are partnering with the village of Zakrzówek to bring a lawsuit against an activist who erected a sign reading ‘LGBT Free Zone’ on their borders, even though they had already declared themselves “free from LGBT ideology”.

Notes From Poland reports that Bartosz Staszewski, an LGBT+ activist, posted signs outside locations that had previously expressed their anti-LGBT stances. As a form of protest, Staszewski had erected the signs reading “LGBT Free Zone” in various languages and photographed LGBT+ people beside them before taking them back down.

Staszewski’s wanted people to see the realities faced by queer people living in the locations and continued that “Maybe after this project, they (the locations) will look differently at people they see as a threat.”

However the Polish village of Zakrzówek is to sue the activist. Mayor Józef Potocki has said the sign is a “harmful and defamatory…lie suggesting there is discrimination or segregation of people”. The mayor, a member of PiS – the ruling political party who ran their recent elections on a hard anti-LGBT+ stance – goes as far as saying they “welcome everyone – tourists, investors – we have no prejudices against anyone”. This is despite the fact that the village had pledged to defeat “homopropaganda” and said it was “free from LGBT ideology”.

President of The Polish League Against Defamation, Maciej Świrski, said that Staszewski’s claims “scares away tourists and investors”, and therefore there would be “less chance of obtaining European funds” The ruling political party have tried to argue that they are not against LGBT+ people, but rather against “LGBT ideology”.

Staszewski answered the threats saying he is not worried as he has the “truth on my side”.

In related news, an open letter signed by ambassadors from 50 countries, including Irish ambassador to Poland, Emer O’Connell, calling on Poland to end the discrimination against the LGBT+ community has received a response from the Prime Minister of PiS.

At a press conference, Mateusz Morawiecki announced, “tolerance belongs to Polish DNA,” and that “nobody needs to teach us tolerance because we are a nation that has learned such tolerance for centuries.”

Poland’s President, Andrzej Duda, however, won a second term with a homophobic stance, telling voters that the LGBT community “try to convince us they are people, but it’s just an ideology.”

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