LGBTQIA+ Activists Petition the EU

LGBTQIA+ Activists petition the EU and have hand-delivered a petition with 340,000 signatories to the EU for consideration in an attempt to curb Poland’s move to restrict the rights and freedoms of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The activists have also projected messages onto the Head Quarters of the European Commission stating, “We are not an ideology, We are citizens of Poland”.

LGBTQIA+ rights continue to come under threat in Poland after the country’s President, Andrzej Duba, was successfully re-elected to office in July.

The President’s re-election campaign focused highly on curbing the freedoms of the community and lead with homophobic populist rhetoric which has seen a swift and dramatic increase in homophobic abuse and attacks in the country.

His rhetoric has previously identified the LGBTQIA+ movement as an “ideology more destructive than communism” stating that it was intended to oversee the downfall of traditional family values.

As a response, he released the “Family Charter”. The Charter make a range of specific anti-LGBTQIA+ assertions including a commitment to outlaw same-sex marriage, prevent adoption by same-sex families and ban all education surrounding LGBTQIA+ community, history and rights issues from the school curriculum.

Recently, in Poland, a number of communities have identified themselves as LGTB+ free zones. The worrying trend started when right-wing politicians stirred up anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiment, pitting the religious far-right against the liberal-left in Poland in a wave of ideological and divisive political moves.

There are appropriately 100 towns in Poland that now consider themselves to be LGBT+ free zones, which is nearly one third of the entire country, in a shocking move to curb the freedoms and liberties of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Although these zones are ideological in nature and not constitutionally enforceable, one has been voted of by the local government council to uphold the label regardless.

The zones have further spread division between communities in Poland as a vast and bitter cultural civil war starting to emerge between opposing political viewpoints in the country.

As the free-zones are considered unconstitutional, a number of them have been annulled however the damage to the population has already been done with Poland’s far-right moving towards a clear anti-LGBT platform and arguing that the community stands in the way of wholesome family values.

LBTQIA+ activist have responded to the ongoing crisis by banding together to protest the abhorrent treatment of such a large proportion of the Polish community. A joint campaign between All Out and local campaigners has called upon the European Union to step in to ensure that the Human Rights of citizens of Poland are protected.

The movement, entitled “We’re Under Attack in Poland” has called upon the Head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to “condemn these acts of violence and discrimination” and to “pass legislation on hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity”.

The petition has garnered 340,000 signatories to date and the issue has clearly caught the attention of the European Commission. The petition has been handed to the European Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli.

The LGBTQIA+ activists petition has been widely publicise and in a video on Twitter the group said, “people who are standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ in Poland, asking for an end to the ‘LGBT-free zones’, and a safer, fairer environment for LGBTQ+ people in Poland”.

In her first ever address to the Union, Von der Leyen spoke clearly of the EU’s position on the free zones. She said, “being yourself is not your ideology, it is your identity” and rather than referring to them as LGBT+ Free Zones, she clearly stated her belief that they were “Humanity-Free Zones” making the position of the commission abundantly clear.

Von der Leyen even went as far as to call out the EU’s own lack of defence of these groups and the lack of response over clear Human Rights violations on their own doorstep, stating, “What holds us back? Why are even simple statements on EU values delayed, watered down, or held hostage from other motives?”

The groups have taken their campaign a step further and have protected campaign messages on a number of EU buildings and offices. As well as quoting Von der Leyen, the messages state, “We are not an ideology, we are citizens of Poland”. The projections lit up the building in the rainbow colours of the Pride flag, and directly called on the EU to “turn your words into action”.

As the situation for these marginalised group in Poland continues it is hoped that the European Commission will step in to curb the dangerous rhetoric which is putting all members of the LGBTQIA+ community at risk. These “free zones” may be currently restricted to Poland but should the EU not take a stance on the protection of marginalised groups in their society then there will be nothing to prevent this damning ideology from spreading far and wide.

Support All Out and KPH’s campaign by signing their petition here.

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Written by

Chris Kidd

Chris has spent a colourful and varied international career in the Arts followed by a substantial career in Education. Having moved to Spain in 2019 for a different pace and quality of life with his fiancé, he has now taken up a new and exciting role working with the online department of Euro Weekly News. Share your story with us by emailing, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page