Poland: LGBT movement target of hate

The attack on the Gay Pride in Białystok has triggered a debate about homophobia in Poland. Right-wing counter-demonstrators had attacked the eight-hundred or so participants at the parade, throwing stones, fireworks and bottles at them. Where does all the aggression come from?

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Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Homophobia as a diversionary tactic

There is method to hate speech in Poland, Dagens Nyheter believes:

“Right-wing forces are being mobilised by means of hate campaigns against LGBTQ people. ... In the run-up to the [parliamentary] elections in autumn the [ruling PiS party] is waging a battle against what it calls the 'LGBTQ ideology'. Party leader Kaczyński has stressed that this ideology, like gender studies and the UN recommendations on sex education, represents a threat to Poland from abroad. It's no coincidence that all of this is happening while the other EU countries are mounting pressure on Poland and Hungary with calls for the enforcement of democracy and the rule of law. In drawing attention to liberal demands for LGBTQ rights, the hope is that people won't notice how democracy is being undermined.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Conservative ideas are entirely legitimate

For Rzeczpospolita the discussion about the LGBT movement has become too radicalised in Poland:

“Even if they wanted to, the right-wing and right-wing media like Gazeta Polska couldn't declare Poland an LGBT-free zone. LGBT people have been, are, and will continue to be part of society. They are as entitled to be Polish citizens as are PiS supporters and readers of right-wing nationalist papers. But the opposite is also true. Some members of the left would have us believe that those who don't accept same-sex marriage are no different from the sort of hooligans and nationalists who attack people in the streets of Białystok. With this stance they equate conservatism with hatred of LGBT people. The fact is, however, that conservative views are not homophobia but a mindset that's perfectly legitimate in a democracy.”

Sme (SK) /

LGBTQ minorty as scapegoat

For Sme, the violent end to the first LGBT demo in Białystok was not unexpected:

“Church representatives emphatically said 'No' from the outset, and the city is known as a bastion of the ruling PiS party. Its leader Jarosław Kaczyński emphasised in the run-up to the EU elections that only his party offered a one hundred percent guarantee to protect Polish values. Homosexuals were a threat to the Polish identity and the Polish nation, he said. ... There were mixed reactions to how the demo ended. A speaker for the episcopate did write that violence and contempt must be condemned. But then added that in the eyes of the Church the demonstrators were committing a deadly sin. ... It doesn't look like politicians and bishops will be changing their attitude towards the LGBT minority in the near future; for them it is a scapegoat.”

Tygodnik Powszechny (PL) /

Hatred testifies to the crisis of the Church

The events in Białystok are also testament to the crisis in the Catholic Church in Poland, comments the liberal Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszeczny:

“In order to understand what happened in Białystok you cannot ignore the numerous statements by bishops and priests who unequivocally placed the LGBT+ on the 'dark side of power', depicting them as a threat to families, children's safety and all values that are holy to Christians. ... Aggression is on the rise in Polish society and the Catholic Church is doing nothing to solve the problem. We have arrived at a point where we have to convert - in the true sense of the gospel.”