The ambassdor of US to Poland took place in the Pride Parade, also termed as Equality Parade, held at Warsaw in solidarity with the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Along with him, representatives from Canada, Austria and other countries from the West too, participated in the parade.
The ambassdor of the United States to Poland, Mark Brzezinski, took part in the Pride Parade held at Warsaw on Saturday, it conveyed the message that Washington stands with the LGBTQ+ community as they struggle to oppose the discrimination endured by them.
“America embraces equality ”, said Brzezinski. Along with him, 30 members from the US Embassy as well as representatives from Canada, Austria and other Western countries too, participated in the march.
The administration in other Western countries have been concerned by the Polish government’s agenda which portrays the LGBTQ+ community as dangerous to the country and the children.
The parade is looked forward to by the community which is most of the time opposed by the government who see them as a threat to the country’s Catholic identity.
The elections are to be held in fall this year and have become worrisome to the community. Law and Justice, the conservative party, currently in power is opposed to them and in the past election has criticised them with the purpose of mobilising the conservative base.
The President of Poland, Andrzej Duda was all up for a reelection in 2020, he stated that the promotion of LGBTQ+ rights was an “ideology” more destructive than communism. The education minister said that LGBTQ+ members are not equal to “normal people.”
The leader of Law and Justice, last year ridiculed transgender people and said ” we must protect ourselves from madness. “
Challenges confront the LGBTQ+ community in Poland
Poland ranks at 27 out of a total of 28 countries of the European Union in terms of equality, as per Rainbow Europe, an organisation affiliated with the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.
Same-sex marriage remains illegal in Poland. The law does not consider violence towards the LGBTQ+ people a hate crime.
As per the Campaign Against Homophobia, 12 percent of people who don’t identify as heterosexual in Poland, are victims of physical violence. About 90 percent of these incidents are not reported.
However, in recent years, “attitudes towards the LGBTQ community have come a long way”, according to Robert Biedron, who turned out to be Poland’s first openly gay and atheistic political figure as he came out in 2011.
He was the mayor of the town of Slupsk till 2018. He has kept up with the fact that a lot of people have discarded shame regarding their sexual orientation and take pride in it.
What drives the need to target the LGBTQ+ community ?
Law and Justice opposed the rights of the community when when the mayor of Warsaw, Trzaskowski, who was a member of the political party Civic Platform signed a declaration in February 2019 which guaranteed an LGBTQ+ hostel and community centre, a local crisis intervention system and guarantees to non-discriminatory and sex education in schools as per the guidelines of the WHO.
Many town councillors decided to make their communities “LGBT free” and called Trzaskowski “against moral values”.
Some think that the political parties opposing rights for LGBTQ+ see the issue as a means of political gains. According to Biedron, Law and Justice is ” looking for a scapegoat and are exploiting people’s sense of security. They’re trying to turn public attention away from the real problems to the imaginary problems.”
The Polish media has influenced the rhetoric
A report by the Centre for Research on Prejudice of the University of Warsaw said that people’s exposure to hate speech in the media rose by 25 percent than before. More than 40 percent of the young population confessed to using hate speech against the gay community as well as the refugees.
During the Warsaw Pride Parade, a television presenter, Rafal Ziemkiewicz, tweeted “one must shoot at LGBT” and added with it ” not in the literal sense of course — but these are not people of good will or defenders of anybody’s rights, [the movement is] a new mutation of Bolsheviks and Nazis.”