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.”
Przedstawiam mój projekt fotograficzny z mieszkańcami ze stref wolnych od LGBT na tle znaków z ich miast i tabliczki ostrzegającej przed wjazdem. pic.twitter.com/DFdMb7OfJG
— Bart Staszewski ᴸᴳᴮᵀ 🏳️🌈🇵🇱 (@BartStaszewski) January 23, 2020
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.”
© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBT+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBT+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBT+ media.