Poland’s first ever openly gay mayor Robert Biedron has officially taken up his office.
Earlier this week Mr Biedron gathered 57% of the ballot (15,308 votes), to become the mayor of Slupsk, which boasts 90,000 residents.
The 38 year old beat other candidates, including Zbigniew Konwinski, of the ruling who received 42.92% of the vote in a fierce campaign in which he endured being called, among other things, a “faggot”.
His victory came as a surprise to some, as he only received 20.34% of the vote in the first round, coming second.
Speaking at his swearing-in ceremony at Slupsk City Hall yesterday, he told AFP: “Poland is changing, it’s undergoing a large transformation. Poland will continue to open up.”
Poland is deeply Catholic and one of the most conservative countries in Europe – but there have been signs of progress in recent years.
Mr Biedron is well known for having set up and run Poland’s Campaign Against Homophobia, and in 2011 became the first openly gay MP for the Gdynia-Slupsk constituency.
He said he would move to Slupsk, but that he would not require use of the three limousines made available to the mayor, as he travels by bike.