Poland loses ‘LGBT-free zone’ as region renounces hate and ‘guarantees equality for all’

Thousands of LGBTQ+ people and allies took part in the Equality Parade in Gdansk, Poland

A rural region in southern Poland scrapped a motion opposing “LGBT ideology” after the European Union (EU) threatened to cut funding.

Several Polish regions, towns and cities have adopted hostile resolutions that declare the areas “free from LGBT ideology”. The EU has harshly rebuked the so-called ‘LGBT-free zones’ since they began popping up across Poland in 2019.

On Wednesday (22 September), the regional assembly of Swietokrzyskie voted in a special session to abolish the anti-LGBT+ resolution, Euronews reported.

At the special regional assembly, 25 councillors in Swietokrzyskie passed a new resolution stating that Poland’s constitution guarantees parents the right to raise their children consistent with their beliefs and views. But it stated the constitution also ensures a “guarantee of equality and fair treatment for all”.

LGBT+ activist Bart Staszewski said it was a “great day for Poland and great success of activists and civil society”, the Associated Press reported.

“I am really moved,” Staszewski said.

According to the Associated Press, Poland’s conservative government asked local authorities in several regions to revoke their anti-LGBT+ resolutions. This came after the EU threatened to pull millions of euros of funding to the regions over the ‘LGBT-free zones’.

Polish LGBT activist Bartosz Staszewski holds a sign saying 'LGBT free zones'

Polish LGBT activist Bartosz Staszewski holds a sign saying ‘LGBT free zones’ during a Pride March in Warsaw. (Getty/Omar Marques)

The adoption of LGBT-free zones has set Poland on a collision course with the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, which is responsible for enforcing EU laws.

In July, the European Commission announced it would be taking action against Poland and Hungary for “violations of fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people”. Hungary has also faced widespread condemnation after it passed a law that bans the “promotion” of LGBT+ lives to minors in schools, advertising and in the media.

The commission said Poland will face legal action after it “failed to fully and appropriately respond to its inquiry regarding the nature and impact of the so-called ‘LGBT-ideology free zones’”.

Officials believed these declarations may violate EU’s law regarding non-discrimination due to sexual orientation.

The EU passed a resolution earlier this year that declared the entire bloc an “LGBTIQ freedom zone” in response.

In April, the small community of Kraśnik in eastern Poland became the first town in Poland to withdraw its ‘LGBT-free’ status after Norway threatened to revoke a multi-million Euro grant.

According to Euronews, the Krakow region of Poland is reportedly set to consider a move similar to the assembly in Swietokrzyskie soon.