Polish gay couple travel to the Vatican to unfurl a giant Pride flag in front of Pope Francis, begging for ‘help’
A Polish gay couple have travelled all the way to the Vatican to unfurl a huge Pride flag emblazoned with the word “help” in front of Pope Francis.
Jakub and David are filmmakers and activists, who made headlines after they filmed themselves distributing Pride flag face masks in Poland’s “LGBT-free zones” during the coronavirus pandemic.
More than a third of Poland has now become an “LGBT-free zone”, pledging to refrain from acts that encourage tolerance and avoiding providing financial assistance to NGOs working to promote equal rights.
Determined to bring even more awareness to the plight of the queer community in Poland, last week Jakub and David took their activism further afield.
The gay couple travelled to the Vatican to wave a huge Pride flag, with one word, addressed to Pope Francis, written on it: “Help.”
The hate increasingly directed at Poland’s LGBT+ community is driven largely by the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), which has frequently targeted LGBT+ rights as an invasive foreign influence or “plague” that threatens the country’s national identity.
The country’s president Andrzej Duda went on to capitalise on rising homophobic sentiment during his re-election campaign, hitting out at “LGBT+ ideology” and promising to ban same-sex couples from adopting children.
Interviewed by Polish media, Jakub and David said: “Polish bishops called us paedophiles, they say that we are a disease and even COVID-19 is a punishment for the world for LGBT+ sins.
“Our local authorities, inspired by the Catholic Church, have been creating ‘LGBT-free zones’ in Poland.
“We believe that these actions don’t go along with Pope Francis’s teaching and we did it to encourage him to take action.”
The couple posted a photo of themselves with their flag on Instagram, and wrote: “This was the view that Pope Francis had today under his window during the Angelus.
“Pope Francis himself wears a rainbow cross and says: ‘It doesn’t matter that you are gay, God loves you as you are.’ It is time for the Polish Church to teach the same, which still fuels hatred towards LGBT+ people.”
The couple returned to St Peter’s Square several times during the week with their flag and said they were “amazed” at the number of Catholics who approached them with “words of support” while they were at the Vatican.
They continued: “Nobody felt offended by the rainbow, the police did not chase us out, and when we were alone in the square an hour longer, one of the priests came to us, offered water and listened to what we had to say.”
Although Pope Francis has made no significant policy changes within the Catholic Church regarding LGBT+ people, he has been less hostile towards the community than his predecessors.