When thugs smashed the windows of a Polish gay-rights NGO, KPH, in Warsaw last year, police put guards outside for a few months. But dodgy-looking men kept loitering outside and when the police left, KPH suffered two more attacks. Thugs smashed its windows again in May this year, the NGO’s president, Agata Chaber, told EUobserver in Brussels on Thursday (29 June).
The police are back, but so are the dodgy-looking men.
“They’re quite obvious. They sometimes wear nationalistic T-shirts … They’re keeping an eye on our premises, checking if the police are still there,” Chaber said. The T-shirts show how homophobia is mixed up with xenophobia in Poland. The attacks also show that an anti-gay backlash in Polish society is becoming more hardcore.
Poland’s right-wing government does not openly back it, but it has created a climate in which those who hate gay people feel “let loose," Chaber said.
Things are worse outside big cities. Gdansk, Lodz, Krakow, Poznan, Warsaw, and Wroclaw were “islands” of toleration, Chaber said.
“They’re not fully safe. People can be out, but they probably wouldn’t walk hand-in-hand in the street … but in other parts of the country, people can’t come out at work, they rarely tell their parents, it’s very difficult to come out in schools, and they [LGBTI people] don’t have any meeting spaces”, Chaber said.
KPH helps gay people to prosecute attackers, but there is no such thing as a homophobic crime in Polish law. Read more via EU Observer