- President Duda is on the attack but LGBT+ ally Rafał Trzaskowski may still beat him in the election on 28 June.
Poland’s President Andrzey Duda has said LGBT+ ‘ideology’ is even worse than communist doctrine as he prepares for elections on 28 June.
His comments further weaponize LGBT+ issues in the country and follow the pattern of his ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) attacking LGBT+ people as an election ploy. Meanwhile an LGBT+ ally has emerged as Duda’s main opponent in the presidential election race.
However, LGBT+ campaigners are fighting back, holding a protest at one of Duda’s rallies.
Last week, Duda signed a ‘Family Card’ or ‘Family Charter’ of election proposals. These included a promise not to allow same-sex marriage or adoption and to ban teaching about LGBT+ issues in schools.
Now he has likened the LGBT+ community to communist rule at a rally in Brzeg.
He said: ‘My parents’ generation for 40 years fought to eliminate communist ideology from schools, so it couldn’t be forced on children.
‘So youth, children, soldiers and youth organizations couldn’t be indoctrinated.
‘They didn’t fight for this so that a new ideology would appear that is even more destructive.’
‘We are not an ideology’
In response, LGBT+ campaigners protested at a rally Duda held on Monday in the eastern city of Lublin.
Protesters carried signs saying ‘We are people and not ideology’ and ‘I am a human’.
One of the protestors, LGBT activist Bartosz Staszewski, said:
‘We gathered in large numbers to show him [Duda] that we are not an ideology, as these are the words that we hear very often from PiS politicians in recent days.’
Moreover, current polling shows Duda faces a very tight race against Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski.
Trzaskowski is an LGBT ally who made headlines when he launched an LGBT+ Declaration to protect the community last year. He entered the race late but could beat Duda in the second round of voting for the election on 28 June.
‘Distressing’ and ‘unacceptable’
Meanwhile LGBT+ politicians in the European Parliament have stepped in again to criticize the homophobic rhetoric.
Fabio Massimo Castaldo MEP, is vice-president of the LGBTI Intergroup in the parliament. He said:
‘It is distressing to see the Polish president joining the herd who has endlessly scapegoated LGBTI persons for the sake of holding onto power and galvanizing political support based on hatred.’
And Marc Angel MEP, co-president of the LGBTI Intergroup, added:
‘Being LGBTI has nothing to do with ideology. Yet, discriminating someone for being LGBTI is an utter disrespect of the right to be free from discrimination and the values of tolerance and equality, which any EU country must uphold.
‘These attacks lambasting the LGBTI community are unacceptable.’