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Terrified queer Poles are fleeing the country as homophobic president Andrzej Duda is officially sworn in for second term

Patrick Kelleher August 6, 2020
Andrzej Duda sworn in LGBT+ gay

Andrzej Duda (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty)

Andrzej Duda, Poland’s staunchly homophobic president, has been officially sworn in for a second term following his election win last month.

Duda was sworn in this morning (6 August) after he took an oath before the country’s National Assembly, the combined chambers of Poland’s parliament.

“Accepting the office of the president of the Republic of Poland at the nation’s will, I solemnly swear that I will keep up my devotion to the provisions of the constitution,” Duda said, according to Poland In.

“I will firmly guard the dignity of the nation, sovereignty and security of the country. I swear that the good of the homeland and wellbeing of the citizens will be my first precept.”

The president – who hinged his re-election campaign on his harsh opposition to LGBT+ rights – will attend a Catholic mass later today at St John Metropolitan Church in Warsaw, and will take command of the Polish armed forces later today.

He is expected to give a speech at Pilsudski Square in Warsaw at 3.30pm today.

LGBT+ people in Poland fear for their safety as Andrzej Duda takes office.

Duda’s re-election win has been celebrated by conservatives, but has left many LGBT+ people fearing for their safety.

Polish LGBT+ activist Bartosz Staszewski told PinkNews that the situation is only getting “worse and worse” for queer people in the country.

“We see LGBT+ people leaving Poland not for economic reasons but searching for a country that will respect them,” he said.

“State sponsored homophobia has a big impact especially on young LGBT+ people. Seventy per cent have symptoms of depression and half have suicidal thoughts. According to the latest research, this number is growing.”

Magda Dropek, an LGBT+ activist from Krakow, told PinkNews that today is a “sad day” for queer people.

We see LGBT+ people leaving Poland not for economic reasons but searching for a country that will respect them.

“Today Duda reminded people of his stance that the family needs protection. I’d also like to remind him that every family, also rainbow ones, needs protection and that families should be open, supportive, responsible, full of acceptance and empathy,” she said.

LGBT+ people are leaving the country and relocating to safer places.

While Duda was being sworn in, some LGBT+ people were preparing to leave Poland altogether, fearing that they will not be able to live freely in their home country anymore.

Piotr Grabarczyk and his boyfriend Kamil Pawlik told Associated Press that they fled Poland for Barcelona following Duda’s re-election win.

“Like where’s the line? Is there a line they are not going to cross? I don’t know.” Grabarczyk asked.

“That was kind of scary,” he added.

But not everybody can leave.

Michał Niepielski, a 57-year-old radio technician from Krakow, said he would not be able to work in his field in another country.

He and his partner are “very afraid” for the future.

“We have sympathy with the people who haven’t come out of the closet yet and now will have to stay in the closet for a long time, perhaps until the end of their lives,” he told AP.

“That’s a tragedy. That’s one reason we are staying.”

The ultra-conservative president attacked gay ‘ideology’ and same-sex adoption during his election campaign.

Andrzej Duda narrowly secured re-election last month following a bitter presidential campaign that saw him resorting to anti-LGBT+ sentiment to win popular support.

The ultra-conservative politician, who was backed by the ruling Law and Justice Party, attacked same-sex marriage, adoption and gay “ideology” throughout his re-election campaign.

In a “family charter” published ahead of the election, Duda pledged to “prohibit the propagation of this ideology” in public institutions and “defend the institution of marriage” as defined as a “relationship between a women and a man”.

Duda also proposed an amendment to Poland’s constitution that would ban same-sex couples from adopting children. He said: “I am convinced that, thanks to this, children’s safety and concern for the good of children will be ensured to a much greater extent.”

 

 

 

More: Andrzej Duda., Homophobia, Law and Justice Party, LGBT rights, Poland

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