In 2019, about one-third of Poland’s territory adopted resolutions discriminating LGBT+ people.
Local governments have been announcing that LGBT+ people are not welcome. Politicians are calling non-heterosexual and transgender people “an ideology” while at the same time they are trying to convince everyone that their actions “are not directed against people”.
Each resolution sends a clear sign to LGBT+ people living in those provinces, counties and towns: „we don’t want you here”, „you should stay silent or leave”. These seemingly symbolic resolutions can cause real harm. They reinforce prejudices and repeat lies about people who already live in fear of violence and often leave Poland for countries, where they don’t have to fear for themselves or their families.
Despite the local politicians’ cruel words, we assure you – we are people.
→ Full version of the Film
→ What is this Campaign about?
→ What are local politicians saying? What is our response? (videos)
→ Act Now!
→ Map of zones against “LGBT ideology” (map)
‘It’s not about people’ – a collection, prepared by Jędrzej Malko, of statements recorded during debates on passing so-called “anti-LGBT resolutions” by various local governments in Poland.
What is this Campaign about?
It’s about people.
By the end of June 2020, as many as 97 local governments in Poland adopted resolutions discriminating LGBT+ people. They include resolutions declaring “opposition to LGBT ideology”, the so-called “Local government Charter of the Rights of the Family” prepared by the Ordo Iuris Institute (a far-right organization) as well as individual resolutions prepared by local governments.
More than two million LGBT+ people live in Poland. They live in large cities and small towns, in every province, district and village. The following debates of local governments clearly show how ignorance and a fundamental lack of knowledge can fuel prejudice and fear. How easy it is to turn those fears into action. For now, the resolutions remain symbolic. For now.
What are local politicians saying? What is our response?
Three short clips, three topics we disarm:
During the debates of local governments who adopted the resolutions, many local politicians argued that their goal is not to discriminate against anybody. At the same time, we were told that local politicians don’t want us “to highlight our otherness”, that they oppose our “activity and corruption of Polish families”, and described our families as “combinations”.
Article 32 of the Polish Constitution states that “all persons shall have the right to equal treatment by public authorities”. However, LGBT+ people are dehumanized during these debates and discriminated by resolutions. Local politicians do not mention their relationships, their families, their children, their very human fear what tomorrow may bring. Politicians do not realise and refuse to acknowledge, that even though theu speak about “ideology”, it is actual flesh and blood people who are going to bear the consequences of their words. Today, this rhetoric already harms citizens living in 1/3 of Poland.
70% of LGBT+ youth in Poland has suicidal thoughts. Most of them hide their sexual orientation at school fearing violence and exclusion. Their concerns are warranted – in Polish schools sexual orientation is mainly covered at Family Life Education classes (taught instead of sex ed classes) which are often taught by religion education teachers presenting Catholic dogma, while a textbook approved by the Ministry of Education calls homosexuality “a disease that should be treated”.
During the debates, local politicians equated sex education with „reducing one’s emotional life to sex as well as promoting sex”, “promoting homosexual relationships” or “spying on behalf of international organisations”. Another politician argued that he had never heard of problems in schools involving intolerance or violence towards LGBT+ people.
Local politicians argue that LGBT+ people, who want equal rights, are “groups of minor importance” and “supporters of an ideology”. They try to create fear by mentioning values “imported from the West”, which allegedly pose a threat to Polish traditions. They urge others to protect society against “moral corruption”, that, according to them, has its roots in the European Union. They highlight the importance of “Christian morality based on dialogue and respect for human dignity”.
Their actions stand in direct opposition to the ideals of respect and dialogue. They don’t see the violence, inequality and exclusion of LGBT+ people because they refuse to notice it. They refuse to acknowledge the simple fact that they are talking about their neighbours, or perhaps their own children. They talk about people who are not “imported”. At the same time, they are keen on receiving funding from the European Union and get their salaries financed by taxpayers, including LGBT+ people living in their towns and regions. They give the LGBT+ people a clear choice: “stay silent or leave”.
Let everyone know that we are people.
Here are some tips on how can you do that:
1. Spread the Word
Share the videos. Let your friends and family know about what’s going on in Poland. Tell your boss. Tell your local shop owner. Seriously. The more people are aware, the more support we get.
Do you know someone from the media? Push for a story, give them our email address ([email protected]). Ask for a piece on this topic. Stress the fact that this is an important matter. Don’t leave us alone.
2. Look for Sister Cities
Some cities are partnered across borders. ‘Sister’ or ‘twin’ cities are bound to each other by an agreement on cultural and business exchange. Some cities in Europe have already severed ties with their twins in Poland because they passed homophobic resolutions.
Check if your own city or province has a Polish twin. If so, see if the twin has voted for one of the resolutions in question or ask your local government to see if they are planning to do so. Tell your mayor, councilman or councilwoman, or your governor about the issue. Ask them to take an action – condemning the resolution, cancelling business agreements, or ending the partnership entirely.
3. Support Polish LGBT+ NGOs
We do what we can to oppose this matter. Still, there are lots of issues the LGBT+ community in Poland faces every day. Our resources, as well as our supporters’ funds, aren’t infinite.
We need money to properly deal with homo- and transphobia in Poland. Donate and help us bring the change now.
Donate to Love Does Not Exclude or any other organisation of your choice (you can learn more about our work here):
- Here’s a map showing LGBT+ organisations working for the community in Poland – click on an area to see a list of NGOs active in the region.
- Or donate to Love Does not Exclude:
Map of zones against “LGBT ideology”
Map based on monitoring data collected by the Atlas of Hate team.
Make a donation for Love. Help us strengthen LGBT+ community in Poland.
Special thanks to:
Atlas Nienawiści/Atlas of Hate team: Kuba Gawron, Paweł Preneta, Paulina Pająk, Kamil Maczuga