LGBTQ people are fleeing Poland

LGBTQ people are fleeing Poland

About a thousand pro-LGBT+ demonstrators took to the streets of Warsaw to take a stance against hate and discrimination on Sunday.

The demonstrators were seen chanting slogans, dancing, and carrying a large rainbow flag while marching. The police expected a counter-demonstration, similar to the one seen on Saturday, and secured the march from the city center to the presidential palace.

“We do not agree and we will never agree to sit in silence and ignore the apparent problem. We have decided to act,” wrote the organizers on Facebook.

Officially Poland provides LGBTQ people with the same rights as heterosexuals in certain areas: Gay and bisexual men are allowed to donate blood, gays and bisexuals are allowed to serve openly in the Polish Armed Forces, and transgender people are allowed to change their legal gender following certain requirements including undergoing hormone replacement therapy.  Polish law bans employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. No protections for health services, hate crimes, and hate speech exist, however. In 2019, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the provision of the Polish Petty Offence Code, which made it illegal to deny goods and services without “a just cause”, was unconstitutional.

When a right-wing populist party won the right to govern Poland five years ago, bad things happened to  LGBTQ people.

Duda, who repeatedly described the LGBTQ rights movement as a dangerous “ideology,” was sworn in for his second term as president.

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LGBTQ people are fleeing Poland

As Duda faced a tough electoral challenge from Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, the rhetoric grew harsher. He called the LGBTQ movement an “ideology” worse than communism. He formally proposed the adoption ban for same-sex couples.

As of June 2020, some 100 municipalities (including five voivodships), encompassing about a third of the country, have adopted resolutions which have led to them being called “LGBT-free zones”

On 18 December 2019, the European Parliament voted (463 to 107) in favor of condemning the more than 80 such zones in Poland. In July 2020, the Provincial Administrative Courts (Polish: Wojewódzki Sąd Administracyjny) in Gliwice and Radom ruled that the “LGBT ideology-free zones” established by the local authorities in Istebna and Klwów gminas respectively are null and void, stressing that they violate the constitution and are discriminatory against members of the LGBT community living in those counties

In the meantime members of the LGBTQ community are fleeing Poland to more friendly countries including the Netherlands or Spain.

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