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Rafał Trzaskowski: Warsaw mayor faces backlash for protecting LGBT rights

Sam Ramsden March 4, 2019
Rafal Trzaskowski signs the declaration on February 18th 2019

Rafal Trzaskowski signs the declaration on February 18th 2019 (Facebook)

Rafał Trzaskowski, the Mayor of Poland’s capital city, Warsaw, has received backlash after signing a declaration to protect LGBT+ rights.

The declaration is the first ever LGBT+ declaration to be signed in central-eastern Europe, and the first document to officially recognise LGBT+ rights in Poland.

The declaration signed by Trzaskowski is said to guarantee the basic needs of Warsaw’s LGBT+ community, and enable local administrations to provide what the Polish government refuse to put into practice, according to Gay Star News.

The declaration includes the promise of an LGBT+ hostel and community centre, a local crisis intervention system, and aims to provide access to anti-discrimination and sex education at city schools.

Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski with LGBT+ advocates in Warsaw, Poland
Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski with LGBT+ advocates in Warsaw, Poland. (Facebook)

A spokesperson for Love Does not Exclude, Oktawiusz Chrzanowsk, is quoted by GSN as saying: “Aside from implementing specific solutions to the issues of our community, today is about joy and pride about living in Warsaw which is becoming a Rainbow City and a beacon for the region.

“We can hope for a safer environment for us and our partners, friends, and families.”

Shortly after the mayor signed the declaration, Trzaskowski received backlash from right-wing and anti-LGBT+ groups who claim the LGBT+ community are being given special treatment.

Rafał Trzaskowski speaking in Warsaw after signing the LGBT+ declaration
Rafał Trzaskowski speaking in Warsaw after signing the LGBT+ declaration. (Facebook)

Those opposed also claim that LGBT+ people are a threat to society due to “high HIV infection rates,” and the head of the Regional Education Board in the city of Krakow has labelled the LGBT+ education initiative as “promoting paedophilia.”

Hubert Sobecki from Love Does not Exclude responded to the backlash, saying: “Rhetorics of this kind are nothing new to us.

“The goal of the right-wing media and activists is to cause a chilling effect, blocking implementation of the Declaration and stopping us from repeating our success in other cities – We won’t yield to this hate.”

“The sea of hate could take over but after signing the LGBT+ declaration we achieved broke records.”

— Rafał Trzaskowski

Mayor Trzaskowski added: “The sea of hate could take over but after signing the LGBT+ declaration we achieved broke records.”

Love Does Not Exclude have encouraged people to write to the mayor to show their support of the declaration.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: “We know they are currently being flooded by homophobic rants and we need to show that there’s a need for basic protection in this city.”

More: Europe, Poland

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