People “eager to go home” in Poland amid anti-LGBT regime
Poles living in Merseyside have revealed that they are eager to return to their home country.
Maciej, who lives in Southport, and Wiktoria, who lives in Liverpool, are two of the countless Polish LGBT + people who fear the new anti-LGBT ideologies being adopted in a number of municipalities in Poland.
A number of ‘LGBT-free zones’ were established in Poland in 2019 as part of an attempt by local authorities to ban the marches for equality, inclusive education and other LGBT + events.
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Support for the resolution came from ultra-conservative religious groups and leading figures such as Archbishop of Krakow Marek Jędraszewsk who described LGBT + rights movements and inclusive ideology as a ‘rainbow plague. sky “.
In 2021, more than 80 municipalities covering around a third of Poland adopted the LGBT-free resolution.
Maciej Tocki-Hernandez, 25, openly gay, left Poland for the UK in 2015 and has now lived in Southport with her husband for a year.
He came out while living in the UK and found his identity to be welcomed and celebrated by the local community.
He explained that LGBT-free cities and municipalities in Poland do not necessarily reflect the more open attitudes of residents of big cities.
Maciej told ECHO: “Warsaw is fine and Gdańsk is fine, but it’s the small towns and villages where you have problems.”
Maciej’s hometown of Lesko, a small town in south-eastern Poland close to the Slovak and Ukrainian borders, is one of the towns that has declared itself a LGBT-free zone.
While Maciej has not yet returned to Poland since the introduction of the LGBT-free zones, he plans to visit her husband once the coronavirus travel restrictions are removed.
However, he remains somewhat worried about being able to express himself freely in his country of origin.
Maciej continued, “I wouldn’t feel confident going to these places.
“I wouldn’t feel happy and able to express myself.”
He told the story of two of his friends in Poland, a gay male couple, who were discriminated against because of their sexuality.
He continued, “People swear and them and push them into the street.
“Some people are afraid to hold hands because they fear people will beat them.”
Maciej’s words do not upset the Polish people, but rather hold right-wing public figures, including the aforementioned Marek Jędraszewsk, responsible for the anti-LGBT rhetoric being conveyed to the Polish public.
The Sandgrounder has since come out of his family who all accept him for who he is, but fears that if he had never left Poland his outing trip could have been very different.
Maciej continued, “I knew I was gay at the time, but I was scared.”
“In England people don’t care who you are or where you come from.
“But people in Poland sometimes don’t like things they don’t understand, even if it’s something simple like wearing skinny jeans.”
If you have been touched by any of the issues raised in this article, there are many charities and organizations in Merseyside and the UK working to support victims of hate crimes.
Stop the hate in the UK is a leading national organization fighting all forms of hate crime and discrimination. 0800 138 1625
Hopenot Hate is an advocacy group that uses research, education and public engagement to fight mistrust and racism and help rebuild communities. Info @i hope i hope.org.uk.
The Anthony Walker Foundation aims to promote diversity and racial harmony in Merseyside through education, sport and the arts. 0151 237 3974
Stone wall lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality campaigns across the UK.
Daisy Inclusive United Kingdom is a Merseyside-based charity that works to promote disability awareness and provide support to people with disabilities in the region. 0151 261 0309 or [email protected]
United response is a UK-based charity that provides personalized care and support for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs, autism and physical disabilities. 0800 0884 377
Changing lives is a national charity based in the North East that has supported vulnerable people for 45 years. 0191 273 8891.
Support for victims is an independent charitable organization that aims to help people rebuild their lives after a traumatic event. 0808 1689 111
This sentiment is reflected by Wiktoria, a Polish transgender woman living in Liverpool.
Wiktoria, who chose to use a pseudonym, moved to the UK in 2015 with the aim of providing her family with better access to education and life’s opportunities.
When she moved to Liverpool, Wiktoria found solace in her friends who were open and accepted her wish to explore her identity. She began her transition journey in early 2021, beginning the process of legal name and gender changes.
But security and freedom are feelings she felt very little in her home country.
Wiktoria told ECHO: “I met people like me in Warsaw, which is a very open city.
“This is the advantage of the capital, but it is not seen everywhere.
“In small towns people sometimes laugh at you and laugh at you. If they see something that they don’t agree with, they can be aggressive.
She too fears for the safety and well-being of LGBT + people living under the homophobic, biphobic and transphobic regimes.
Wiktoria added: “I can’t understand how two countries that are not far from each other can be so different.
“If you live in LGBT-free areas it’s a nightmare. A lot of my friends are scared.”
“I don’t intend to go back to Poland.
“This is our home and this is our future.”
Human rights organizations around the world echo Maciej and Wiktoria’s concerns.
In December 2019, the European Parliament overwhelmingly voted to condemn the zones and issued a statement urging Polish officials to revoke all such resolutions, reiterating that European Union funds “must not be used. for discriminatory purposes “.
Many Poles are also opposing the implementation of the zone, rallying en masse at LGBT + protests to oppose the resolutions.
Despite this, LGBT-free areas remain, with Poland now being described as the country with the worst LGBT + rights record in the EU.
People like Maciej and Wiktoria are afraid for the future of LGBT + rights in Poland, but they haven’t given up hope for positive social change.
Maciej said: “It’s not easy living in Poland and being LGBT +, but for those who are, I would encourage them to be themselves.
“Those who accept you will accept you and those who do not accept you, you can leave behind.”
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