From Anti-Gay Politics to Frustration: The Formative Relationship between the Polish Right and Gay Rights Activists
Walczyszyn, Christopher M.
- Between 2005 and 2007 the Polish government was controlled by a right-wing coalition of three political parties Law & Justice, Self-Defense, and the League of Polish families. This coalition campaigned on and attempted to realize a vision of social conservatism focused largely on "otherizing" homosexuals. Polish society, which had only been exposed to homosexuality a few years earlier, was bombard... read moreed with anti-gay political rhetoric. Constant attacks on "homosexual propaganda" from the education ministry, violations of democratic norms by the government, and expressions of concern from the European Union dominated the national political discourse and came to define the ruling coalition both domestically and abroad. However, the European Union did little to challenge the government's attacks on Poland's LGBT minority. This forced activists in Poland's fledgling gay rights movement to shift their strategies and alter their approach to combating homophobia from one based primarily on increasing visibility to one based on directly combating the attacks of the ruling elite and challenging their legality. After the ruling coalition was ousted and the governmentally sanctioned homophobic rhetoric subsided, activists were once again forced to restructure their approach to improving the sociopolitical position of homosexuals. Based on a series of interviews, a set of case studies, and reports detailing the Campaign Against Homophobia's actions, I will examine the effects and the legacies of politicized homophobia on gay activism in Poland.read less