“Gender ideology and the LGBT movement threaten the identity, the nation, its continuance and the Polish state” – Jaroslaw Kaczynski, chairman of Poland’s ruling right-wing and populist Law and Justice (PiS) party, said in 2019.
In June 2020, during the campaign for the presidential election, President Andrzej Duda, who hails from PiS and was standing for re-election, also spoke on this issue: “They try to tell us that [LGBT] are people, but it is an ideology.”
These are examples of homophobic hate speech used by major Polish politicians in the parliamentary (2019) and presidential (2020) campaigns. Both were won by PiS and Duda.
But this triggered a counter-effect. What followed were mass coming-outs by the young all over the country, not just in big liberal cities. Many PiS voters have realised that this was not due to “LGBT ideology”, it was their gay, lesbian, transgender children or grandchildren realising their identities.
Paradoxically, those homophobic campaigns, cynically unleashed for political gains, were a wake-up call for many Poles. In 2022 Poland saw record support for at least civil unions of same-sex couples – 64 percent are in favour of them.
It seems Poles have found a social consensus, but society lacks the political will to change. The ruling PiS party will refuse to pass a law supporting LGBT people. But even those politicians are aware of this social shift. The topic of “LGBT ideology” has already disappeared from their political agenda.
Poland’s parliamentary election will be held in autumn. The two main opposition parties – Civic Platform and Poland 2050 – have announced the introduction of civil unions. The third one – New Left – supports marriage equality. It depends on this election whether the Polish authorities will finally begin to respect human rights, or whether Poland, however, will continue to resemble Putin’s Russia.