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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Religious Ignorance to the Fore!

    Where Your Sexuality Can Make You Enemy of the State

    Homophobia is a powerful political tool in a country that’s turned into one of Europe’s most socially regressive.

    By Marek Strzelecki
    and Dorota Bartyzel
    November 22, 2020, 7:00 AM GMT+7

    Mikolaj Milcke is a writer and broadcaster in Poland, publishing half a dozen novels, hosting radio shows and starring as a commentator on reality show “Big Brother” last year. Yet when he’s spotted in his hometown, he’s seen as a menace rather than a celebrity.

    Milcke, 39, is gay in a country where his sexuality makes him an enemy of the state as the government weaponizes homophobia for political gain. After visiting friends with children recently, some received text messages from locals asking why they’re not afraid to leave their kids with him, he said.



    Mikolaj Milcke, writer and broadcaster.
    Photographer: Lukasz Kaminski

    “We’ve been brutally and deliberately pulled into politics,” said Milcke, a pseudonym he adopted at the start of his career to protect his parents. “The worst is that people started believing that they need to not only protect themselves from gays at schools, but also at home.”

    Once a model European Union country diligently integrating with its western allies, Poland stands out even among eastern members like Hungary that have also been rebelling against Brussels and Berlin, most recently over the bloc’s coronavirus relief plan. The last few years have seen Poland turn into one the continent’s most socially regressive states.

    Backed by the nation’s omnipotent Catholic Church, the ruling Law & Justice party has targeted abortion and demonized Muslim refugees. But it’s the LGBTQ community that has been subject to the most inflammatory attacks, depicted as an “ideology” backed by the EU that needs to be eradicated.

    This story is based on interviews in recent weeks with members of that community in Poland. They included activists fearful of reprisals and teenagers hiding their sexual identity in what they felt was a hostile environment. Some talked of the organizations linked to the Church seeking to “cure” them, others the desire to leave the country.

    Five of Poland’s 16 provinces and more than 80 towns and cities have declared themselves free of LGBTQ “ideology” or passed resolutions aimed against sexual minorities. For months, trucks funded by an anti-abortion group have carried billboards linking homosexuality to pedophilia, their loud-speakers roaring out homophobic messages in big cities.

    Discriminating



    Polish bishops have called for the creation of counseling centers to counter “behaviors that until recently were considered unacceptable and morally reprehensible.” That’s as the Vatican softens its position, with Pope Francis saying homosexuals have the right to civil unions and a family.

    Some such centers already exist, including a Catholic organization called Odwaga—or “courage” in Polish—whose website offers “therapeutic help to people with unwanted homosexual inclination.”

    President Andrzej Duda made opposition to gay rights a key theme of his re-election in July, calling them more destructive than the communists that ruled the country for more than 40 years. His opponent, Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, pledged support for LGBTQ groups, including anti-discrimination education in schools.

    “Stop listening to this idiocy about human rights or equality,” Przemyslaw Czarnek, a Law & Justice parliamentarian and ally of Duda, told national television during the election campaign. “These people are not equal to normal people.” Last month, he was appointed education minister.

    A protester against Law & Justice holds up a picture of Duda on a gay pride rainbow background.
    Photographer: NurPhoto/NurPhoto

    It was after the campaign that Milcke and others in the LGBTQ community said that the gloves came off. In his mailbox in Warsaw, where there were protests in support of gay rights following Duda’s re-election, Milcke found a print of his picture covered in red liquid. It was also on the sidewalk in front of his building with graffiti saying “to hell with LGBTQ.”

    It’s in poorer provincial strongholds of Law & Justice that are more influenced by the Church where homophobia is particularly rife. Yet it’s growing even in areas where the main opposition party is trying to resist it.

    Danuta Zarzeczna, a mother of a lesbian in Wloclawek in central Poland, runs a support group for young LGBTQ people. She said the country is fast turning into a place where they have to hide as the government becomes more radical and the Church diverges from the Vatican.

    The city of about 100,000 people isn’t in one of the LGBTQ-free “zones” and its mayor has spoken out against the government. But a 15-year-old LGBT boy who lives there said more people now think they have free rein to abuse.

    He was used to insults over his choice of clothes, occasional makeup and long hair. He avoids coming home late and tries to sit at the front of the bus. Then over the summer, a group of girls verbally attacked him on one journey. Echoing Czarnek’s line, they told him they’d prefer to be a human being rather than an ideology.

    In September, 50 ambassadors expressed concern about political attacks on sexual minorities in a letter to the government. U.S. envoy Georgette Mosbacher said Poland is “on the wrong side of history” on LGBTQ.

    That month, the EU and Norway followed through on warnings that infrastructure projects in affected Polish regions would have funding halted. The EU has also been threatening other financial aid curbs on Poland for its undermining of democratic institutions such as the courts and independent media. On Nov. 12, the bloc unveiled plans to defend the rights of LGBTQ people across its 27 member states.

    ...article continues here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/featu...&sref=eqvgPRs0
    Majestically enthroned amid the vulgar herd

  2. #2
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    Homophobia is a powerful political tool in a country that’s turned into one of Europe’s most socially regressive.
    Poland hasn't been a beacon of liberalism and free thought in Europe, just ask the Jews, . . . as can be seen by the current government.

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    ...the Catholic church has a lot to answer for...again...

  4. #4
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Yup . . .

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Guess who congratulated this fascist fucking prick when he won the election?

    Religious Ignorance to the Fore!-untitled-jpg

  6. #6
    Lone Monarchist
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    Poland isn't on the bandwagon. But then the lobbyists push against them, which causes them to resist and then they start getting more agressive

  7. #7
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Guess who congratulated this fascist fucking prick when he won the election?

    Religious Ignorance to the Fore!-untitled-jpg
    And literally no one is surprised ... and now we hear from Backspin on another of his specialist categories ... Global Realpolitik

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