Matthew’s Place
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Matthew’s Place

The Human Rights Crisis in Poland

by Madison Rose

In Poland, identifying as LGBT can make you an enemy of the state. Not only is same-sex marriage illegal, but over 80 towns in Poland have declared themselves “LGBT free zones.” The President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, has signed legislation which “protects children from LGBT ideology.” Duda believes the LGBT community to be a foreign ideology that is more dangerous than communism and he believes that very ideology is deteriorating family-values. Leaders in Poland have declared that this “foreign ideology” needs to be irradiated.

In response to the country’s anti-LGBT policies, activists in Poland have displayed peaceful acts of protest. Rainbow flags have been placed on many statues around Poland. A truck with speakers blaring LGBT slurs was defaced. The response to the protests, however, has been extreme. One woman who participated in hanging the rainbow flags was handcuffed by officials, verbally harassed, and thrown into an unmarked van.

In September of 2020, an open letter coordinated by the Belgium Embassy in Poland, and signed by nearly 50 other ambassadors, called for an end to the rampant and destructive discrimination against sexual minorities in Poland. They asked the country to “affirm the inherent dignity of each individual as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” They request that the people of Poland shield those in the LGBT community from verbal and physical abuse and to work toward a more tolerant future. Whether or not leaders in Poland will respond to this letter and take action toward positive change has yet to be seen.

In 2019 in Lublin Poland, a pride march was met with protests, some even throwing eggs at the marchers. The police in Lublin, however, took a surprising stance, and shielded participants, working to stop the protests against the pride celebrations. Human rights organizations have called for responses like this to be adapted across Poland. The measures taken to discriminate against LGBT individuals in Poland have been destructive for the people and regressive overall for the nation’s human rights policies. Hope lies, however, in the heart of the protesters, and those who dare not to conform with the hateful laws passed in Poland. Hopefully, a brighter future for Poland’s LGBT community is on the horizon.

About the Author:

Madison Rose graduated with honors from the University of Colorado with a degree in psychology specializing in forensic psychology. She was a lead organizer of Denver’s March for Our Lives as well as the founder and Vice President of Never Again — Colorado. Madison also founded and served as the director of Public Relations for Vote for Our Lives, in addition to establishing Students Demand Action in the state of Colorado. Madison has been a guest lecturer on anti-violence activism at the University of Colorado and Regis University. You can follow her on Instagram @starringmadisonrose.

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Matthew’s Place is by and for LGBTQ+ youth and a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation l #EraseHate

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Matthew's Place

Matthew's Place

MatthewsPlace.com is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit? Email patrick@matthewshepard.org

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