Polish gay man wins damages from homophobic neighbour in landmark case
A Polish woman who repeatedly verbally abused one of her neighbours about his sexual orientation has been ordered to pay him more than £3,000 in damages.
Known only as Anna S., the 44-year-old repeatedly targeted Ryszard Giersz, who lived in the same apartment block as her with his partner and members of his family.
She has been banned from using the word ‘faggot’ and ordered to pay him PLN 15,000 (£3,194) in damages and court costs of PLN 4,000 (£852).
Anna S. said it was a huge fine for someone such as herself who relies on benefits and claimed all the witnesses in the case had lied.
Judge Urszula Chmielewska said everyone has to right to live a normal life in society and for their sexual orientation to remain their private business.
LGBT advocacy group Campaign Against Homophobia said it was the the first case in Poland where a gay person pursued their rights in a court of law so openly.
Gazeta Wyborcza reported that Mr Giersz and his boyfriend had stones and tomatoes thrown at them in the street and were verbally abused. He also had to change his job.
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He told the paper:
“I’m very happy.
“I’m a normal person and I just want to live with my partner. The last half-year was excruciating.
“I hope S. finally stops interfering with my life and offending me at every step. Perhaps we’ll manage to move out to a larger flat. Then we’ll no longer have to meet this lady.
“I didn’t regret for a single moment that I had decided to go to court.
“I hope this verdict makes people more tolerant and think twice before they offend someone who is simply different from them.”