Since the summer of 2019, around 100 municipalities and regions in Poland have declared themselves "LGBTI-free". In recent years, ultraconservative forces in Poland - in particular the ruling Law and Justice party and the Polish Catholic Church - have systematically demonised queer people in particular around electoral campaigns. As of September 2020, a third of Poland has been declared "LGBTI-free".
But things can change. A handful of these declarations have recently been revoked by courts as discriminatory. Six applications for town twinnings from municipalities that have declared themselves "LGBTI-free" have been rejected by the European Commission. And many brave people are raising their voice in Poland and abroad. The Polish government's targeting of queer people must stop.
Many of the towns and regions that have declared themselves "LGBTI-free" are twinned with European towns and regions. Let's make sure that local political representatives from these towns and regions send a clear message to their Polish counterparts: we stand in solidarity with LGBTI communities in Poland!
Showing solidarity with the LGBTI community in Poland is important. Here are three steps you can take to support people under oppression in Poland - urging the governments of twinning cities to put pressure on their Polish "LGBTI-free" counterparts, raise awareness on what is happening via Twitter and donate to LGBTI organisations in Poland
Dear representative of [city/region],
I’m writing as a citizen of [city/region] to express my concern over the normalisation of state-sanctioned discrimination in Poland, and in [city/region, Poland], which has been declared an “LGBTI-free zone” by its local authorities and is twinned with [city/region]. Needless to say, this has no place in our society or anywhere in Europe.
I’m calling on you to officially distance [city/region] from this homophobic bigotry, as a signal to the LGBTI communities in Poland as well as here at home that we stand for equality and human rights. This distancing can take the form of a public statement, or redirection of public funds intended for twinning cooperation towards organisations or projects defending LGBTI rights in Poland.
This is part of a larger campaign from citizens across Europe asking officials to use their influence to put pressure on their twinning counterpart in Europe, in order to show LGBTI communities in Poland and elsewhere that we do not accept discrimination and homophobia.
Thank you so much
Latgale - Województwo Małopolskie
Šilalė - Kraśnik
Castelo Branco - Puławy
Detva - Tuchów
Horná Súča - Wilamowice
Humenné - Przemyśl
Kunerad - Wilamowice
Prešovský samosprávny kraj - Województwo Małopolskie
Rajecké Teplice - Wilamowice
Trenčianske Teplice - Wilamowice
Zuberec - Jordanów
Žilinský kraj - Województwo Małopolskie
Keski-Suomen maakunta - Województwo Świętokrzyskie
South Kesteven district - Przemyśl
1/3 of Poland has been declared "LGBTI-free". The Polish government's targeting of queer people must stop. Here are some steps you can take to stand with LGBTI communities in Poland 👉 #solidarnośćzLGBTI https://t.co/cWcByDGSc4 pic.twitter.com/8I5UoZBDZl— tilt! 🌍 (@tilt_green) September 15, 2020
Organisations working on the ground need our support now more than ever. If you are able to chip in, please consider donating to any organisation or project defending LGBTI rights in Poland. Here are some examples with main areas they work in:
Check out more organisations and ways to support here.
Tilt is a citizens’ movement demanding that the European Union works for all of us – not just a privileged few. Together, we’re making real change happen and urgently pushing for a fairer, greener Europe.