Poland’s ‘first rainbow roundabout’ comes as government U-turns on LGBT+ rights
Nestled between a puppet theatre and a park, residents of a town in Poland might see the country’s “first rainbow roundabout” in a remarkable act of defiance against the openly anti-LGBT government.
In what has become a clear symbol of solidarity with the queer community, a Szczecin local has launched a petition to introduce the colourful circular intersection just uptown of the city centre.
Nearly 300 residents of the northwestern city have already dotted their names on the petition which calls for a “joyful, colourful” roundabout inspired by the LGBT+ Pride flag to “enliven the city”.
‘Szczecin needs a sign around which it will be possible to unite’.
The petition pitches the roundabout to be built in the Śródmieście-Północ neighbourhood, speckled with museums, college campuses and upmarket cafés.
“Szczecin needs a sign around which it will be possible to unite,” the petition read.
“The roundabout will become the most recognisable point in Szczecin, will attract crowds of tourists and will make the everyday life of many residents passing by everyday more enjoyable.”
Petitioners plan to send a draft proposal to local councillors as early as November 26, the petition stated.
“This will be first roundabout of tolerance in Poland,” explained Mateusz Cyrulewski to PinkNews, who is behind the petition.
“We are proud of our city. Szczecin is a very tolerant city.”
Cyrulewski explained how the town has been the stage of a vivid array of LGBT-positive events and Pride parades over the years, but “only in Szczecin there was no violence during these events.
“It inspired us to create a symbol permanently inscribed in city space,” he added.
Poland’s ruling party have U-turned on LGBT+ rights and rode region’s wave of discontent.
Urine, rocks, firecrackers and eggs have all been hurled at Pride-goers this years across the European country, all the while Poland’s ruling party openly dubbed LGBT+ people a “threat”.
The Law and Justice party were swept into power last month, giving credence to a populist campaign that swayed voters with aggrieved nationalism and anti-LGBT attitudes.
Activists have argued for years that the party have served to only ferment homophobia.
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Multiple Prides in Poland this year – with many of then being the town’s first ever – were descended upon by hundreds of protesters.
And critics argue that Jaroslaw Kaczyński’s re-election campaign has only added fuel to the fire especially as lawmakers are considering banning sex education in schools in the latest salvos against the community.
Cyrulewski said that since the party scored a majority, he said things in Poland have been “different”.
But he remains optimistic, considering that while the party may control the Sejm, local governments are a different story.
“Changes are coming,” he said.