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Polish education minister wants to copy Hungary’s cruel anti-LGBT+ laws ‘in their entirety’

Emma Powys Maurice June 29, 2021
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Poland's minister of education and science, Przemyslaw Czarnek, speaking at a press conference on 21 June (Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty)

Hungary’s anti-LGBT+ legislation could set a terrifying precedent in Poland as the Polish education minister calls on his country to replicate the laws “in their entirety”.

In a chilling interview for the right-wing newspaper Sieci on Monday (28 June), Polish minister Przemyslaw Czarnek praised the widely-reviled Hungarian ban on the depiction or discussion of different gender identities and sexual orientations in schools.

The wide-reaching legislation, passed by Hungary’s government earlier this month, also prohibits any form of LGBT+ representation in advertising or media that could be seen by under-18s.

“This law states that school lessons touching on questions of sexuality must not promote gender reassignment or homosexuality,” Czarnek was quoted as saying. “We should copy these regulations on Polish soil in their entirety!”

His words were yet another sign of Poland’s increasingly close alignment with Hungary as the countries’ far-right policies continue to isolate them from their progressive EU neighbours.

In justifying his views Czarnek fell back on the tired, homophobic cliches that now dominate the LGBT+ discourse in both Poland and Hungary, speaking of “debauchery, sowing scandal and trampling on values”.

“A person who behaves [in] obscene and vulgar [ways] cannot have the same right to walk around the city as a person who behaves normally and walks with a child,” he said. “Someone who disturbs the order, causes scandal, demoralises others, deprives himself of this right.”

Czarnek’s education ministry has recently announced a number of planned reforms, including changing students’ reading lists to include more patriotic texts and the works of the late Polish pope, John Paul II.

The interview came after he faced heavy criticism for his comments on last week’s LGBT Equality Parade in Warsaw, which he called “an insult to public morality”.

“These people go out onto the street, offend Catholics in a vulgar way, shout out obscene slogans, behave obscene and that should be OK?” he said.

The remarks drew condemnation from the opposition, which highlighted the worryingly high rate of LGBT+ teens bullied into suicide in Poland.

“The only language you know is the language of hate,” said Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bak, a lawmaker from the Left grouping. “Language that leads to students, who you should be looking out for, killing themselves, self-harming,” she added.

Neither Czarnek nor his predecessor, Dariusz Piontkowski, have shown much concern for the growing problem in schools, with Czarnek maintaining that sex education should not be teaching children about “disorders”.

Related topics: Hungary, Poland

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