Polish homosexuals flee persecution by new right-wing government

Friday, July 20, 2007

Poland's Roman Catholic right-wing government has openly homophobic members and Polish media recently announced that the Health Ministry had created a special committee responsible for 'curing' gays.

Daily Mail, 20.07.2007

Following the rise to power of Poland's Roman Catholic right-wing government, including some openly homophobic members, Polish gay rights groups claim that thousands of Polish gays have emigrated to United Kingdom to escape increasing persecution including the Health Ministry's "special committee responsible for 'curing' gays".

The Deputy Health Minister, Marek Grafowski, stated the ministry was developing guides "to assist parents and teachers so that they can recognise any warning signs of potential 'gay behaviour'."

Guardian unlimited reports that the Polish police have also begun compiling a database on gays in Poland. Although illegal under European Union law, this is allegedly being done under the auspices of an investigation into the gay community following a bomb threat two years ago by a gay man, who was reportedly angry when a gay rights march was banned in Warsaw.

"The police are not allowed to catalogue 'homosexual data', but it's enough to look into the police investigation associated with the bomb in order to establish a list of names and addresses," said Ewa Kulesza, a former personal data protection general inspector.

Homophobia appears to be a problem beyond the government as well. One person said his doctor had referred him to a vet when he went for a check-up. "He told me there was a specialist for people like me and gave me an address. When I got there it was a vet. I called him and he said, ‘What did you expect? You are an animal’.

A gay club, Le Madame, was recently shut down by Warsaw local authorities who hired private security guards to break down the doors.

Robert Biedroń, the president of the Polish Campaign Against Homophobia society, believes that most of the Polish gays emigrate to the UK not for economic reasons but because of persecution in Poland. "Most of the people I know are now in England because of the current political situation. Not for economic reasons, but because of the persecution of homosexuals going on here. It's impossible for gays to be themselves in Poland", says Biedroń.