Polish gay football fans ask for separate seats at Euro 2012

A Polish group of gay football fans has asked for separate seating at the 2012 European Championships to protect them from other fans.

Teczowa Trybuna 2012 (Rainbow Stand 2012) made the request to organisers, claiming that they could face harassment and violence if seated with the main crowd.

According to AP, the group said on its website: “During trips to matches of our beloved clubs … we unfortunately are often faced with unpleasantness, harassment and violence from the ‘real’ fans’.

“We dream of being able to relax in the stands – we can’t imagine not being at the Euro 2012 matches, which will be held in our country.”

But some Polish gay rights groups distanced themselves from the plea, saying that the plan could put gay fans in more danger.

Chris Basiurski, of the UK-based Gay Football Supporters’ Network, told PinkNews.co.uk that although Polish fans could be more likely to suffer violence, he did not agree with segregation.

He said: “I fully sympathise with their wish to feel safe and protected but I’m not convinced that segregation is the best option.

“We need to create atmospheres where people can be open about their sexual orientation. The best way is education for the fans and ensuring that matchday stewards understand the issues. And all football authorities need to do more.”

The city of Gdansk, which is one match venue, has already rejected the Teczowa Trybuna’s request, saying it would stigmatise gay people.

Homosexuality is legal in Poland but gay couples cannot adopt children and there is no legal recognition of their relationships.

The Polish capital Warsaw hosted EuroPride this year but gay and lesbian groups say they still face prejudice.