Thousands at Warsaw's Pride March protest rising homophobia in Poland

LGBTQ+ people and allies alike gathered at Poland's biggest Pride event on Saturday to call for an end to discrimination.

Image: @marvelloustime

Amid rising discrimination and homophobia in Poland, Warsaw’s ‘equality parade’ was held on Saturday. This follows a two-year hiatus due to the parade’s cancellation in 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s parade also marks the 20th anniversary of Warsaw’s first-ever pride. The mayor of Warsaw, Rafal Trzaskowski, walked at the head of the parade as a powerful sign of solidarity. He expressed his support for the community declaring to the crowds:

“I am here again to show that we will always stand together and stand by those who are weaker, those that others try to marginalise or attack.”

The parade comes at a particularly fearful time for Poland’s LGBTQ+ community. The largely Catholic and conservative nation has witnessed increased homophobia in recent years. The nation’s right-wing president, Andrzej Duda, has referred to ‘LGBT ideology’ as being worse than communism and has sworn to block same-sex marriage and adoption. Recently the Council of Europe ordered Poland to “annul” the designated ‘LGBT-free zones’ across the nation. While such resolutions are largely symbolic they have contributed to the rising oppression of Poland’s LGBTQ+ community.

One of the most recent threats to Poland’s LGBTQ+ community is a new bill aiming to ban Pride parades in Poland. The bill is supported by Poland’s influential Catholic church and the leader of the nation’s governing party. The vice director of the Campaign against Homophobia, Miroslawa Makuchowska commented:

“We’ve been through a very, very rough time. But at the same time we are going out in the streets and we are saying we are stronger and we are not going to give up”.

The recent rise in homophobia in Europe is not limited to Poland. Hungary’s nationalist government passed a law only days before Warsaw’s pride march outlawing any discussion in schools or the media about LGBTQ+ issues or people.

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