Europe

Sejm passes horrific anti-LGBT+ bill in Poland

Lily Wakefield January 15, 2022
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Protesters call for the resignation of education minister Przemyslaw Czarnek, in Warsaw, Poland

Protesters call for the resignation of education minister Przemyslaw Czarnek, in Warsaw, Poland. (LightRocket via Getty/ Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images)

The lower house of Poland’s parliament, the Sejm, has passed an education reform that echoes Hungary and Russia’s “LGBT+ propaganda” laws.

The reform, dubbed “Lex Czarnek”, or “Czarnek’s Law”, after minister of education Przemysław Czarnek, would destroy any hint of LGBT-inclusive education in Polish schools.

On Thursday, 13 January, the Sejm adopted the bill with 227 members supporting it, and 214 voting against it.

The bill will now make its way to Poland’s Senate, which experts say is likely to reject it, but in this case the final call would be made by anti-LGBT+ president Andzej Duda.

Lex Czarnek will give a huge amount of power to school superintendents, Polish government officials which oversee several schools each, allowing them to veto teaching materials and dismiss headteachers without notice if they do not comply.

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s largest independent newspaper, reported: “When students want to organise another ‘Rainbow Friday’, the headteacher will not agree.

“They won’t allow an LGBT+ organisation to come to the school with a lecture on equality. And they won’t send a teacher on an equality education course. Because they won’t want to lose their job.”

French MEP Laurence Farreng described Thursday’s vote as “worrying”, and said that Duda’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) was proposing “a school model that serves its ultraconservative agenda and places teachers under its political control”.

PiS has relentlessly attacked LGBT+ rights in Poland and homophobia is on the increase, with large parts of the country declaring themselves “LGBT-free zones”.

Although it seems that Lex Czarnek is on track to becoming law, Rémy Bonny, executive director of pan-EU LGBT+ rights organisation Forbidden Colours, insists that all is not lost.

With pressure from politicians both in the EU and around the world, Poland could be forced to backtrack, Bonny previously told PinkNews.

He said: “In September, after threats by the European Commission to take away funding, four out five provinces that declared themselves ‘LGBT+ free zones’ withdrew their anti-LGBT+ resolutions… International pressure on Poland works.”

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