70% of LGBT youth in Poland think about suicide, while 40% think about moving abroad: these are just two stats showing the effect of the hate campaign against the LGBT+ community in Poland – a country with “LGBT-free zones”, and where representatives of religious and political groups consider the LGBTI+ community “a rainbow plague”, to quote the words of the archbishop of Krakow, Marek Jedraszewski.
Nina Sankari, Vice-President of the Kazimierz Łyszczyński Foundation, commented on the launch of the billboard campaign:
“We aim to raise awareness of society’s responsibility for the tragic consequences of LGBTI+ rights violations and to show that an alternative is possible.
“The hate speech of the Church hierarchy, calling non-heteronormative people a ‘rainbow plague’ and crying ‘non possumus!’ (‘we cannot!’ in Latin, editor’s note), resulted in an outbreak of physical violence in Bialystok and other cities. The shameful ‘LGBT-free zones’, established in dozens of cities, recall the worst examples of the Nazi ideology of dehumanization and exclusion.
“The entire Polish society is responsible for the tragic consequences of homophobia. That’s why the campaign’s slogan is: ‘Homophobia kills. You don’t need to hate.’ No one needs to hate or condone the spread of hatred. A hate-free person is happier.”
Trond Enger, Secretary General of the Norwegian Humanist Association (which has actively contributed to the campaign), commented:
“The global humanist movement has an obligation to react whenever politicians and state leaders utilise religion to undermine humanist values, by limiting the rights and freedoms of marginalised groups.
“The situation in Poland is deeply worrying. The Norwegian Humanist Association is committed to take a clear stance against the attack on rights and freedoms in our European neighbourhood”.
Giovanni Gaetani, Membership Engagement Manager at Humanists International, praised the launch of the campaign as follows:
“Humanists International is delighted to announce its support to the campaign of the Kazimierz Łyszczyński Foundation and we invite all our Members, Associates and Supporters around the world to show their support by resharing the banner of the campaign and translating its content wherever possible.
“The importance of global support cannot be underestimated, for at least two reasons. On the one hand, we will send a clear message to the Polish religious and political authorities, saying that the whole world is watching and that we won’t be indifferent to their human rights violations.
“On the other hand, we will show to the members of the Polish LGBTI+ community that they are not alone, and that there is a worldwide community ready to defend their rights, because humanists want to build a society where everyone can enjoy a life of dignity and where universal human rights are respected and protected. For everyone, everywhere.”
The press conference to launch the campaign will be held on 19 June at 2PM in front of the main entrance to the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw. For enquiries about the campaign, please contact Nina Sankari at [email protected]