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Jesus statue given rainbow makeover by queer Polish feminists in open challenge to homophobic government

Reiss Smith July 30, 2020
Statue of Jesus carrying Pride flag and wearing anarchist bandana

A statue of Jesus was given a rainbow flag and an anarchist bandana. (Robert Kuszyński OKO.press)

In Warsaw, a statue of Jesus was decorated with a Pride flag by queer feminist Polish activists in a direct challenge to state homophobia.

With Poland’s LGBT+ community under increasing attack from a dehumanising, homophobic president who has vowed to ban children from learning that queer people exist, local officials who have decreed swathes of land to be LGBT-free zones and bigoted vigilantes targeting innocent queer folk, activists sent a clear message to the nation: we exist.

As well as a Jesus statue in the centre of Warsaw, two other bronzes – of astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and the Mermaid of Warsaw, the city’s mascot – were given rainbow flags and pink anarchist bandanas.

A radical queer feminist group named Stop Bzdurom (Stop Bulls**t) claimed responsibility for the protest, sharing a video to social media of activists working late at night.

It shared a manifesto decrying the homophobia rampant in Poland, promising to stand up to hate for as long as queer people are “afraid to hold hands” and until “the last homophobic van disappears from our streets”.

“As long as the [Pride] flag makes someone worse and ‘inappropriate’, we solemnly promise to provoke,” it continued.

Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki accused the activists of crossing a line by adding a Pride flag to the Jesus statue.

“The desecrated figure of Jesus from Krakow’s suburbs is not only a religious symbol, but a witness to the dramatic history of the capital,” he wrote on Facebook.

“Such acts of vandalism we observed yesterday in Warsaw lead to nothing good, and have one purpose – to divide society even more.”

He warned: “I won’t let that happen,” adding that Poland will not repeat “the mistakes of the West”.

In response, Stop Bzdurom explained that it chose the statues of Jesus, Copernicus and the mermaid to underline that the queer community is a part of Warsaw, and of Poland.

“We feel that the rainbow in our country has become a burden that only bronze arms can carry,” it wrote.

The group explained that its goal is “not to offend religion”, but to criticise “internal -phobic attitudes”, adding that LGBT+ folk can be Christians too.

“To see ‘profanation’ through the rainbow, you have to see evil in this rainbow rather than good,” it added. “And you are all responsible for your prejudiced look.”

Police said they are aware of the three incidents, but no arrests have been made.

Stop Bzdurom pointed out that in 2019, an activist who hung posters of the Virgin Mary with a rainbow-coloured halo around a town north of Warsaw had her apartment raided, her phone and computer seized and was interrogated for hours.

Poland’s president Andrzej Duda was recently re-elected off the back of an abhorrently homophobic set of pledges.

He has vowed to ban same-sex marriage, gay adoption and LGBT-inclusive education in schools.

Rallying against the queer community while on the road, he said:”They are trying to convince us that they are people, but this is an ideology.”

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