Thousands of LGBTQ people and supporters have turned out to march for LGBTQ equality in Poland.
Yesterday’s Equality Parade saw activists take to the streets of Warsaw to protest the government’s discrimination and persecution.
Against a backdrop of increasing anti-LGBTQ sentiment in the region, many local governments in Poland last year outlawed “LGBT propaganda”.
Some are now subject to sanctions from other European Union member nations, and international diplomats have called on Poland to end its campaign of homophobic and transphobic discrimination.
Protestors yesterday held rainbow flags as they gathered outside the Palace of Culture in central Warsaw, Reuters has reported.
“Homophobia is a huge problem in Poland,” said 22-year-old Sylwester Cimochowski.
“There are lots of people who can’t cope with it, they kill themselves.
“The situation of LGBT people in Poland is tragic, and that’s why I’m here – to support them.”
A report by ILGA-Europe this year found that Poland has the poorest LGBTQ rights among all European Union countries, with “gross violations of human rights”.
The predominantly Catholic country is among a number of nations in central and eastern Europe that continue to persecute LGBTQ people.
Hungary’s nationalist government has recently introduced legislation banning the “display and promotion of homosexuality” to young people.
Dozens of countries around the world still criminalise being gay or trans.
Australia has been criticised for its slow action to address overseas persecution, with the government saying that any intervention against concentration camps in Chechnya would be delayed by months.
In Poland, conservative politicians and clergy have been accused of perpetuating homophobia, although some claim to be opposed only to “LGBT ideology”.
“The Equality Parade is a celebration of LGBT people and all those who have to fight for their rights,” said Cimochowski.
Supporter Marta Borkowska said that the situation for LGBTQ people is “getting more and more difficult … but at the same time, there is more and more resistance.”