Poland seen as “a country of homophobes and Teletubbies specialists”

Tony Grew May 21, 2008
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The Prime Minister of Poland has spoken out about his country’s image abroad under the Presidency of Lech Kaczynski.

Last week Human Rights Watch inducted the President into their annual “Hall of Shame” to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, a move that brought into sharp contrast views of Kaczynski at home and abroad.

The President was placed in the Hall of Shame for a controversial speech decrying German influence on the country and gay marriage.

His address to the nation in March used heavy-handed tactics to warn of the dangers of the Lisbon treaty.

Over footage of two men getting married the President, a notorious homophobe, claimed the treaty would “affect the accepted moral order in Poland.”

Donald Tusk, who took office as Prime Minister in November, succeeded the President’s twin brother, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

When asked about the Hall of Shame, he said:

“The image of homosexuals were used in the context of a curse and disaster which are lurking over Poland.

“I would prefer that Poland, whoever it concerns, whether the Prime Minister or President, not be regarded in the world opinion as a country of homophobes, Teletubbies specialists, but rather that they consider us normal.

“I sympathise with the President because as you remember, he said he didn’t watch the address before it was aired.

“This could be a warning for him to do so especially when there are these types of people who prepare addresses as in this case. That would be safer.”

The country was widely mocked last year when it was revealed that Ewa Sowinska, a government-appointed children rights watchdog, said she would ask psychologists to advise if the Teletubbies’ camp antics could affect children.

“I noticed [Tinky Winky] has a lady’s purse, but I didn’t realise he’s a boy,” she said.

“At first I thought the purse would be a burden for this Teletubby. . . Later I learned that this may have a homosexual undertone.”

Her office later dropped the issue.

Miss Sowinska, a member of the militantly anti-gay and anti-abortion League of Polish Families, resigned last month.

The party was a junior coalition partner in Poland’s previous government but lost its seats in parliament in an election last year.

Tinky Winky is the largest of the Teletubbies, sporting a triangular antenna on his head. He is also found dancing in a ballet-style tutu from time to time, which is also often worn by Laa-Laa.

Pawel Kowal, an MP for the President’s Law and Justice party, attacked HRW and the “Hall of Shame.”

“It happens that serious organisations make a mistake. In this case it’s a matter of completely misunderstanding the point of the speech.

“The facts are that there which would support this claim, and I say this with the deepest sincerity as a Christian who would never do anything against people with a different sexual orientation which is not sanctioned by Catholic doctrine.”

Lech Kaczynski was not the only public figure “who attacks LGBT people and families for political ends.”

HRW also nominated the President of Uganda and the Home Office for “making prejudicial policies and public statements that deny people’s dignity and endanger their lives.”

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