Several cities in Poland illuminated buildings with rainbow colours on Monday in a gesture of solidarity with the LGBT+ community, but activists called for more give a boost to in the face of rising hostility.
LGBT rights have been a flashpoint in Poland during the last two years, with politicians tied to the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party and senior members of the Catholic Church arguing against what they term “LGBT ideology”.
Final week liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, at the side of several other city mayors, pledged to light up buildings with rainbow colours to mark the International Day for Tolerance.
To many devout conservatives in predominantly Catholic Poland, Trzaskowski represented a threat to traditional values when he signed an “LGBT+ Constitution” pledging, for instance, to introduce education approximately LGBT rights in Warsaw schools.
But LGBT+ activists say Trzaskowski has not fulfilled the promises he made, which included creating a shelter for young LGBT+ people who became homeless after coming out to their families.
“This is obviously a symbolic gesture and we welcome it when it comes from mayors of smaller cities and smaller towns,” said Hubert Sobecki, an activist with a non-governmental organisation Love does not exclude.
“We expect more from someone who … pledged to do something tangible for the community,” he said, adding that two years after the “LGBT+ Constitution” was once signed “there was once absolutely no action from the municipality”.
A Warsaw city corridor spokeswoman said the mayor was once dedicated to the constitution’s proposals but their implementation was once “a complex process” and a few efforts had been halted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Buildings were also illuminated in Gdansk, Krakow, Poznan, Wroclaw and other smaller towns.
Activists say hostility is rising against LGBT+ people in Poland, which does not recognise any form of same-sex marriage, and there have even been calls for Pride parades to be banned.
Bartosz Staszewski, a filmmaker and LGBT activist, said the illumination of a bridge over the Vistula river in Warsaw made him think of a trans activist who died after jumping off a bridge.
“I have such terribly poor associations when now the same bridges are simply rainbow-lit and nothing more will happen in Warsaw,” he said.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)
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