Designated “LGBTQ+ free zones” created by Poland’s conservative communities could be abolished under pressure from the European Union.
LGBT-free zones came about in 2019 when about one third of Poland decided their towns should be void of LGBTQ+ education, culture, and “ideology.” The towns and cities with these anti-gay laws are primarily located in Poland’s southeastern region.
Last year, LGBTQ+ Poles started an interactive map called The Atlas of Hate which documents all the Polish municipalities where LGBT free zones have been adopted. The group faced multiple lawsuits from Polish counties for bringing this issue to light. However, courts have ruled in favor of the activists, dismissing the lawsuits.
CNN reported in 2020 that Polish President Andrzej Duda based much of his election campaign rhetoric around the dangers of LGBTQ ideology and deemed it “more dangerous to Poland than communism.” And many have called the increasing LGBTQ+ culture in Europe and Poland the “rainbow plague.”
In recent years, Poland has been dominated by the conservative “Law and Justice” or PiS party’s influence, which according to Euronews has seeped into the activities of the country’s Constitutional Court.
The European Commission has made efforts to block Poland’s judiciary from violating the union’s fundamental values, launching legal proceedings and even cutting off EU funding in these communities. These efforts have seen little response from Poland.
Those fighting against these laws include Poland’s Human Rights Ombudsman, Marcin Wiącek, who has filed complaints and sued the town of Tuszów Narodowy for violating Constitutional rights. Progressive citizens in Poland and the EU continue to push for these laws to be rescinded and hope that the younger generations will bring about positive change.