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In 2019, the town council of Krasnik, Poland, voted to declare itself an “LGBT free zone” in a bid to appease conservative voters. Now, Mayor Wojciech Wilk says the decision has become a costly embarrassment and turned “our town into a synonym for homophobia.”
A French town last year severed a partnership with Krasnik in protest. And Norway, from which the mayor had hoped to get nearly $10 million starting this year to finance development projects, said in September that it would not give grants to any Polish town that declares itself “free of L.G.B.T.”
“We have become Europe’s laughingstock, and it’s the citizens not the local politicians who’ve suffered most,” lamented Mr. Wilk, who is now lobbying councilors to repeal the resolution that put the town’s 32,000 residents in the middle of a raucous debate over traditional and modern values.
The mayor goes on to say that unless he can get the “free of LGBT ideology” resolution revoked, his ability to access foreign funds to help pay for electric buses and youth programs is greatly reduced. The youth programs in particular weigh heavily in the town where young people are leaving.
The parliament announced Thursday that there were 492 ballots in favor of the resolution and 141 against in a vote that came after a debate in a session of parliament in Brussels on Wednesday.
The resolution came largely in reaction to developments over the past two years in Poland, where many local communities have adopted largely symbolic resolutions declaring themselves free of what conservative authorities have been calling “LGBT ideology.”
These towns say they are seeking to protect traditional families based on unions of men and women, but LGBT rights activists say the designations are discriminatory and make gays and lesbians feel unwelcome. The areas have come to be colloquially known as “LGBT-free zones.”
The government of Poland clapped back saying they have a right to protect their ‘traditional family values.’
The Polish government also claimed to have lower hate crime statistics than other Western European countries. But, since there’s no mention of LGBTQ people in that country’s penal code, the authorities don’t keep track of homophobic attacks. So, there’s no telling how many anti-LGBTQ crimes are committed.
The president of Poland, Andrzej Duda, won reelection last year embracing anti-LGBTQ policies. During the campaign, he remarked that LGBTQ “ideology” is more dangerous than communism.