Two years ago, Kraśnik councilors voted to make their city “LGBT-free”. All this to please conservative voters. Now the city is paying the price for this decision – writes the American newspaper “New York Times”. “We have become the laughing stock of Europe and it is the inhabitants, not the local politicians, who bear the greatest costs” – quotes the American daily newspaper Wojciech Wilk, the mayor of Kraśnik.
Almost a quarter of Poland’s territory is within the boundaries of local governments that have adopted resolutions or other similar documents that recognize LGBT as an “ideology” and present these people in a negative context. Almost a third of the country’s territory belongs to local governments that have adopted various acts referring to the need to defend the “traditional family model” in which LGBT appears in a negative context. The adoption of resolutions by local governments began after the Warsaw City Hall signed the LGBT card. The card provides for, among other things, the construction of an intervention hostel for people excluded by their families, the creation of a socio-cultural center for LGBT people, counteracting violence against LGBT people and educational classes on, among others, security.
One of the cities that adopted the “LGBT ideology” resolution was Kraśnik in the Lublin Province. The American “New York Times” wrote over the weekend about the price the city had to pay for this decision.
“When two years ago local councilors adopted a resolution declaring that their small town in south-eastern Poland was ‘LGBT-free’, the city mayor saw nothing wrong with what seemed to be merely a symbolic and legally pointless gesture,” he writes. NYT “about Kraśnik.
Today – notes the New York daily – mayor Wojciech Wilk is trying to contain the resulting losses. “The decision, which at first seemed a free-of-cost nod to the conservative community of the rural and religious border between Poland and Ukraine, became a costly embarrassment for Kraśnik. It exposed (Kraśnik – ed.) To the loss of millions of dollars in foreign aid, and the mayor himself noted, that she has turned ‘our city into a synonym for homophobia’, which, according to him, is not true, we read in the NYT.
The newspaper recalled that in September last year, the Norwegian authorities announced that they would not award grants to Polish municipalities that had passed declarations presenting LGBT people in a negative context. According to “NYT”, for Kraśnik alone this means a loss of USD 10 million (approx. PLN 40 million) on development projects. The French partner city of Nogent-sur-Oise has also suspended cooperation with Kraśnik.
“We have become the laughing stock of Europe and it is the inhabitants, not local politicians, who bear the greatest costs” – quotes the American daily Wilka. As “NYT” adds, the mayor is now urging councilors to overrule the decision of May 2019. “My position is clear: I want this resolution to be repealed” – emphasizes the quoted local government official.
“Smoke Screen for Homophobia”
The “New York Times” points out that Kraśnik is one of several dozen places in Poland where local authorities made decisions similar to the one from two years ago. The newspaper adds that local governments did it “with strong support from the ruling Law and Justice party in Poland and the Roman Catholic Church.”
“The declarations, as part of the party’s efforts to consolidate its (electoral – ed.) Base ahead of the 2020 presidential election, neither barred homosexuals from entering the city, nor threatened the expulsion of those who already live there. Instead, they promised not to let them in. ‘ LGBT ideology, ‘writes the daily. As he explains, “LGBT ideology” is a term that conservatives in Poland use to describe a way of life that, according to them, “is a threat to Polish Christian tradition and values.”
The newspaper quotes 22-year-old Cezary Nieradko, who describes himself as “the only gay who talks about it openly” in Kraśnik. According to him, the term “LGBT ideology” is a smokescreen for homophobia. The man said that after the declaration was introduced by the authorities, the pharmacist refused to fulfill his prescription for heart medications.
Jan Albiniak, a councilor in Kraśnik, who prepared the draft resolution, admitted in an interview with the “NYT” that “personally, he has nothing against homosexuals, whom he described as ‘friends and colleagues'”. However, as the councilor explained, his goal was to “stop ideas that ‘interfere with the normal, ordinary way of functioning of our community’.”
Resolution “harmful to the city and its inhabitants”
In response to the actions of Polish local governments that adopted anti-LGBT resolutions, the European Union, Norway and Iceland announced a cut-off in funding for regions that violated the European commitment to tolerance and equality – recalls the “NYT”. The daily also adds that in March the European Parliament adopted a declaration about a “zone of freedom” for LGBT people.
Although the EP declaration is only a symbolic gesture – writes the journal – such attitudes are starting to bring concrete results. “Faced with the loss of foreign funding, several Polish cities that previously described themselves as ‘LGBT-free’ (…) have changed their minds in recent months. However, the 21-person council of Kraśnik, which voted against the revocation of the declaration last year, recently rejected the proposal the mayor to vote again “- we read.
The newspaper notes that only one member of the board expressed readiness to change his position. “‘I made a mistake,’ says Paweł Kruk, who initially abstained, but now thinks the resolution is unwise and should be annulled,” writes the NYT.
The mayor of Kraśnik himself describes the resolution as “harmful to the city and its inhabitants.” As the US daily notes, Wilk is concerned that maintaining the city’s “LGBT-free” status will block the city’s path to foreign funding for electric buses and youth programs. The latter is, in his opinion, “particularly important because young people are constantly leaving the city”.
“It’s time to give up trying to make the city ‘free’ from anyone and anything.”
The New York Times notes that initially few people paid attention to local government resolutions, which were “widely viewed as a political game for a ruling party that rejoiced at insulting the ‘political correctness’ of its rivals.” The newspaper adds that a lot has changed after being under an artistic project by activist Bartosz Staszewski signs began to appear at the entrances to several cities saying “LGBT free zone”. “Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki accused Staszewski of creating false scandals around ‘free zones’ that do not exist” – he writes.
“However, even those who support such measures [jak uchwały samorządów –red.], they often seem lost in the face of what they want to exclude “- points out the New York newspaper, recalling the words of PiS politician Elżbieta Kruk, who said:” I think Poland will be the first LGBT-free region. ” LGBT ideology ‘”notes the” NYT “.
“According to Mayor Wilk, the semantic dispute is a signal that the time has come to abandon attempts to make the city ‘free’ from anyone and anything,” we read. The American daily adds, however, that councilor Albiniak has a different opinion on this matter. “If I vote for abrogation, I will vote against myself,” I quote from his “New York Times”.
“New York Times”, Konkret24
Main photo source: TVN24