European Parliament votes in condemnation of more than 80 ‘LGBT-free’ zones in Poland

LGBT free zone stickers

The European Parliament passed a resolution to strongly condemn the recent development of so called ‘LGBT-free zones’ in Poland.

MEPs expressed their deep concern at the growing problem of homophobic attacks in the UK, noting in particular that more than 80 Polish municipal or local governments have now proclaimed themselves to be “free from LGBTI ideology”.

Local authorities in the ‘LGBT-free‘ municipalities pledge to refrain from acts that encourage tolerance and must avoid providing financial assistance to NGOs working to promote equal rights.

The EU resolution describes these measures as part of “a broader context of attacks against the LGBTI community in Poland, which include growing hate speech by public and elected officials and public media, as well as attacks and bans on Pride marches and actions such as Rainbow Friday.”

It calls on Poland to “firmly condemn” LGBT+ discrimination and to revoke resolutions attacking LGBT+ rights. It also calls on the European Commission to ensure that EU funds are not “being used for discriminatory purposes”.

Finally, the MEPs highlight that although the majority of member states have legal measures against discrimination, they aren’t sufficiently implemented, leaving LGBT people “vulnerable to hate crimes, hate speech and discrimination.”

Poland’s growing anti-gay movement

The surge against LGBT+ rights in Poland gained pace ahead of the country’s general election, with ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) launching a tirade of abuse towards the country’s LGBT+ community as a key part of its campaign.

Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski directly targeted LGBT+ people in frequent demonising speeches. “We are dealing with a direct attack on the family and children—the sexualization of children, that entire LBGT movement, gender,” he said.

“They today actually threaten our identity, our nation, its continuation and therefore the Polish state.”

In July, Polish conservative newspaper Gazeta Polska began distributing ‘LGBT-free zone’ stickers for shops and businesses to display, evoking memories of the “No Jews” signs seen in the Nazi era.

The Warsaw District Court ordered the magazine to cease, but the rising current of homophobia has sadly continued.