Polish schools cancel LGBT activities after government warnings

Participants of a gay pride parade walk through the streets of Poznan, August 11, 2018. (Photo by Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

A number of schools in Poland have cancelled planned activities to promote LGBT+ acceptance after the country’s government told them they were not allowed to proceed.

Over 200 schools were set to take part in Rainbow Friday, which was organised by civil rights group Campaign Against Homophobia, according to the Washington Post. 


However, the education minister in the country’s conservative government, Anna Zalewska, warned ahead of the event that school principals who allowed activities to take place would face consequences.

She also encouraged parents to report the activities to authorities.

It is not known how many schools cancelled their plans to take part in Rainbow Friday, or how many ended up going ahead despite government pressure.

In a statement to the Polish Press Agency, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education said that they would investigate schools that proceeded with plans for Rainbow Friday, to determine whether or not they had violated the Education Act.

LGBT+ people in Poland continue to face discrimination in a number of areas, with same-sex marriage and civil partnerships both illegal there.

Furthermore, Poland’s right-wing Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak recently called a Pride march in Poznan a “parade of sodomites.”

Poland is ranked 38th among 49 European countries when it comes to LGBT+ rights, according to rights group ILGA-Europe’s annual Rainbow Europe index.

Earlier this year, 39-year-old British national James Pickering, and his 25-year-old Polish-German boyfriend Joseph Czarny were victims of a brutal attack while visiting the country.


The couple told PinkNews that they were subjected to a homophobic attack by two men shouting “faggots” and “gay c***s” on a busy beach in Gdańsk on the country’s north coast—while onlookers stood by and did nothing.

After being abused on the beach, they left, only for the perpetrators to follow them.

“We went to the exit of the beach, and they attacked us from behind,” Pickering said. “I was punched twice in the back of the head and it was so hard that I fell into a fence.

“My partner Joseph was then punched in his face and fell over as well, breaking his phone on the floor.”

And in July, the Minister for Internal Affairs Joachim Brudziński told the police to prosecute LGBT+ people, accusing them of “desecrating” the Polish coat of arms by featuring it on a Pride flag during a march.

But this was the second court ruling this year which has raised hopes for campaigners in the country, after the Supreme Court ruled against a businessman who refused to print posters for an LGBT+ business because he did not want to “promote” gay rights.