Pride organisations from across the world have established an emergency fund in order to support Pride organisers in Poland after the country saw celebrations marred by attacks in 2019, with more opposition expected in 2020. The European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA) is also calling on its members to mobilise in support of Poland.
Initial contributions to the fund came from Copenhagen Pride, who donated €2,000 and Pride in London and Sydney Mardi Gras, who each donated €1,500. The EPOA contributed a further €2,000, while Amsterdam Pride, Dublin Pride, Oslo Pride and Stockholm Pride all donated €1,000. London’s Winter Pride could see a further €1,000 added to the fund.
Pride organisations across the world shared their reasonings for launching the fund. President of EPOA and organiser of Baltic Pride in Latvia, Kristine Garina, said: “The far-right thugs and nationalist politicians who threatened, and in some cases attacked, the Pride movement in Poland last year will be encouraged by national newspapers declaring towns ‘LGBT free zones’, and by a government that makes no secret of its dislike of Poland’s LGBT+ citizens. The European Pride movement will not stand by, and we are coming together to offer our solidarity and support to our colleagues across Poland.”
Chair of Copenhagen Pride, Lars Henriksen, added, “We have been shocked to learn of declared LGBT+ free zones in our neighbouring country. This is similar to tales we grew up with about the Nazi era, where areas were also declared freed from a group of fellow citizens. I had never thought I would live to see this disgraceful story repeat itself as it does in Poland now. When as a child, I learned about the Holocaust, the questions that always arose were: why did no-one do anything to oppose the anti-semitism? And what would I have done in similar circumstances? We cannot defend ourselves with not knowing or not being prepared. Now is the time to act.”
Robyn Kennedy, of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, joined, “We must stand up to regressive policies that reduce our communities to second class citizens. What is happening in Poland is the worst kind of political expediency, where LGBT+ communities are demonised in an attempt to score electoral points. Attacks on our rights anywhere in the world is an attack on all of us.”
A Warsaw Equality Parade, spokesperson added, “It is 2020 and we are still living in a country where local governments declare ‘LGBT-free zones’ and divide society. We need to fight for our basic freedoms and thanks to the support from EPOA and other organisations from Europe, we’ll be able to do it.”
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