Polish gay rights group angered over ‘homophobic’ textbook

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A Polish gay rights group has requested their country’s government withdraw a textbook used in secondary schools, claiming that it portrays homosexuality as an illness.

The Diversity Workshop, An LGBTQ organisation based in the Polish city of Torun, say that the book, which is also used in family and sex education classes, restricts its views on LGBT people to a narrow, traditional view of homosexuality espoused by Poland’s powerful Catholic Church.

However, the Polish education ministry reportedly took no action over the complaint, stating that textbooks were approved on the advice of experts and individual teachers were free to choose which ones they used.

The Diversity Workshop’s Przemek Szczeplocki said: “[The book] remains silent on the problems of homophobia and discrimination and presents the theory that homosexuality is something one can reject and that one can return to ‘normality’.

“This kind of attitude deepens the lack of acceptance for gays, lesbians and bisexuals and perpetuates a belief that some sexual orientations are weird, and this is hurtful,” he added.

However, Mr Szczeplocki added that the current edition of the textbook took a less extreme stance than an earlier one, which he said had put homosexuality on a par with incest and pedophilia.

Grzegorz Zurawski, an education ministry spokesman said that the gay rights group would be better served if it addressed its concerns to teachers and the book’s publishers.

“We tell our experts to pay particular attention to any racial, sexual or religious discrimination before approving a textbook, and in this case they found no such issues.

“We can’t withdraw a book simply because a group of people disagree with the theories expounded by the scholars who wrote it,” he said.