LGBTQ+ Advocates in Poland Demand Action on Rights at Gdansk Pride March

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LGBTQ+ Rights Pride march in Poland

Thousands Rally in Gdansk for LGBTQ+ Rights

GDANSK, Poland, May 25 (Reuters) – Thousands of Poles gathered in Gdansk on Saturday for the city’s annual Pride event. They showed vibrant solidarity and urged the government to enhance LGBTQ+ rights. Among their demands was a promise to pass legislation allowing same-sex civil unions.

New Government Faces Pressure to Act

The pro-European government, led by former European Council President Donald Tusk, took office in December. This followed eight years under the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, which has been criticized for promoting homophobia. Attendees at Gdansk’s ninth annual Pride event expressed cautious optimism. They waved rainbow flags and the blue, pink, and white transgender flag, but stressed the need for swift action.

“The new government is showing more support, it will be helpful, and people will feel safer,” said Maria Malasiewicz, a mathematics student who identifies as asexual and non-binary. “But I feel like it’s a long way to having marriages and really equal rights,” Malasiewicz added.

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Poland’s Lag in LGBTQ+ Rights

Poland is one of five European Union countries that do not recognize any form of same-sex civil partnership. The others are Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia. This issue has caused division within the three-party coalition government. The center-right Third Way is more hesitant compared to its partners, Tusk’s Civic Coalition and the New Left.

Delays in Legislative Action

The Civic Coalition, the largest party in the government, had promised to legislate for same-sex civil partnerships within its first 100 days in office. However, Equality Minister Katarzyna Kotula announced last week that the government would decide on a unified approach only after the European Parliament elections in June.

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Call for Concrete Changes

Monika Chabior, head of social development and equality for the Gdansk municipality, emphasized that positive public sentiment towards the LGBTQ+ community is insufficient. “LGBTQI+ people want to see their private lives changing, not only this public sphere,” she said. “And this means acknowledging their rights like being able to get married. It’s very simple.”

International Criticism of Poland’s LGBTQ+ Policies

Under the PiS administration, Poland faced international condemnation for fostering a hostile environment towards LGBTQ+ individuals. In 2021, the European Parliament accused the country of discrimination after some municipalities declared themselves free of “LGBT ideology.”

As the new government faces mounting pressure to honor its commitments, the LGBTQ+ community in Poland remains vigilant. They continue to advocate for genuine and lasting equality.

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