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News :: Human Rights
Support Gay Rights around the world
10 Jun 2004
Gay Parade Repressed in Poland. Please send e-mail or fax protests.
Letter Campaign about Repression of Gay Pride Parade, Warsaw

Please distribute widely.

We would like to call on individuals and organizations to send e-mails or
faxes to the offices of the President of the City of Warsaw, Poland, Lech
Kaczynski to show support for gay rights in this country and to protest
against growing homophobia. Faxes and e-mails should be sent either today
(10 June) or tomorrow (11 June) as tomorrow there will be a demo held in
front of his offices instead of the annual Gay Pride Parade (Parada
Rownosci), which homophobe Kaczynski has banned.

BACKGROUND: The Gay Pride Parade took place for several years without
incidents in Warsaw on May 1. This year, organizers were told that they
would not be able to hold the parade on that date. Assuming that this had to
do with Poland's Accession to the European Union and other festivities to be
held in Warsaw, the activists decided to postpone the action until June.

Last month, a similar parade held in the city of Krakow was attacked by
ring-wingers. Some religious group had sent anti-gay postcards to residents
of Krakow urging them to protest the "promotion of homosexuality".

After this incident, the President started to threaten that the parade could
not be held in Warsaw. At the same time that the status of the Parade was up
in the air, the League of Polish Families, one of the strongest parties in
Poland and their extreme right youth goon squad, Mlodziez Wszechpolska, had
their counter-demonstrations legalized. (After MW heard of possible
anti-fascist actions, they cancelled their demo and the League of Polish
Families also, after Kaczynski crushed the Parade, also cancelled their
actions.)

The controversy about the parade has been going on for about a month.
Several decision-making organs in the municipality have decided to let the
parade take place, but three times President Kaczynski has vetoed the
decision.

Last week, Kaczynski was pied and, at the time of the action let out a
string of threats and exclamations about 'faggots'. Since then he has been
interviewed several times about the Parade and, each time lets out more and
more homophobic-inspired remarks. His now-famous phrase is that (when asked
about being tolerant towards homsexuals), that "tolerance is not the same as
affirmation", a phrase he uses to support his views that homosexuals have
rights, but they don't have to parade them on the streets and offend the
morals of the public.

Tomorrow we will be protesting. The postcards mailed around in Krakow have
also been mass-mailed in Warsaw. Several magazines feature disgusting,
fear-monging homophobic articles. Already, there have been posters inviting
people to fight at the parade, meaning come beat up the gays. In this
atmosphere, we do not expect too many people to risk coming to the action,
but it will still take place.

If you are committed to fighting homophobia and are angry about the
repression of this parade, please take a moment to send an e-mail to the
President of the City or one of his advisors. A sample letter (which you can
embellish yourself) is included below for the creatively-challenged.

Lech Kaczynski
fax (22) 595 30 52 or 595 30 61 or 595 34 87
e-mail: lkaczynski (at) warszawa.um.gov.pl
biuroprezydenta (at) um.warszawa.pl
e-mail: gabinet (at) warszawa.um.gov.pl
sekpres (at) warszawa.um.gov.pl

Presidential Advisors:
fax: 595 34 84
e-mail: bkamilska (at) warszawa.um.gov.pl



Mr. Kaczynski,

We are outraged about your role in preventing the annual gay parade, Parada
Rownosci, from taking place in Warsaw. It is not the business of the
President of the City to police the sexual preferences of the people or to
act as moral watchdog for the city. The Parade is an important part of the
social and political life of the city as minorities must be able to express
their points of view and be able to appear in the streets without fear of
hate attacks or repression by the city authorities. Shame on you!


or

Mr. Kaczynski,

We are concerned with what seems to be a concerted effort to push
homosexuals back into the closet in Poland. We understand that you have made
remarks to the effect that homosexuals have rights, but they should not show
themselves as homosexuals on the streets lest they offend anybody. We
understand that such remarks may have some support in the public, but this
does not mean that you should think up public safety pretexts to stop the
gay parade.

We demand that gays be given the right to their parade without interference
from the city authorities.

This work is in the public domain
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