(shouts in Polish) A: We can come to her now and burn her house down, beat her or something. (shouts in Polish) Susanna: Why are you doing this to yourself? A: Because of them! Philip: What a weird situation! More than a third of all cities and municipalities here in Poland have become so-called “LGBT-free zones”.
Świdnik County, where I am right now, was the first in March 2019 and more and more counties are following. President Andrzej Duda of the PiS party said that the alleged LGBT ideology is worse than Communism.
And that you have to protect the children from it. The aggressive sexualization of children or adoption by homosexual couples: There must be absolutely no understanding for this. Many queer people are confronted with hate, violence and exclusion.
I am gay myself and I am deeply worried about what is happening in our neighboring country, right in the middle of the European Union. It’s a war. It is a war? I think so. P: Wow! (fast music) I want to understand, what is going on here.
P: I am making this film together with my colleague Susanna, she was born and raised in Poland and has often reported from here. S: To understand the hate towards queer people we are going to talk to activists and to a politician who was one of the first to establish such a zone.
P: In Lublin, the city next to Świdnik, we meet Alicja. She is 19, lesbian, and she lives in a village a few kilometers from here. P: As a queer person. what does it mean to live in a so called “LGBTQ free zone” here? A: To me it means that I have to be prepared for any dangerous situation all the time.
P: What kind of situation? A: Someone can just shout out at me when I´m with my girlfriend, when we are walking around by the hands, because situations like that happend already. I think i can´t feel safe in Poland.
And I know many of my friends decided to move. (Sirens) (restless music) P: Here in the old town of Lublin, which kind of looks like a beautiful place for a vacation, there was a Pride March last year which, in Alicja’s words, was massively attacked by right wing activists.
We are on our way there because she will show us where that was and what exactly happened. (restless music) P: So the equality march was over there? A: Yes. P: What happend last year? On this street. A: On this street? Hooligans started to attack us (serious music) P: The pictures show a lot of violence A: Because it was a lot of violence.
P: Do you know why? What was the reason, why did they come to you and tried to throw some chairs. A: I don´t understand them. We don´t do anything to them. So they attack us for no reason. P: But it feels like they are afraid.
.. A:..of something which is unknown for them I think. And if it´s something unknown for you, it is dangerous. I think politicans and priests started the whole homophobic campaign. They say, that I am safe when I´m in my home, not showing myself, not showing with my girlfriend Then I´m safe.
But whem I´m on a street, I´m not safe anymore. P: So they making it worse actually. A: Yeah of course. It´s obvious. It´s a war. P: It is a war? A: Now yes. I think so. The government has to have an enemy.
I think that´s me at the moment. (serious music) P: Yes. I am really touched, because… (clears his throat) … I have got a lot of respect for her: a 19-year-old who says that she was attacked, that she is afraid, but she still keeps fighting.
S: Does that touch you so much, because you are gay yourself? Because you remember how it was for you to come out and live as an openly gay man in Germany?- P: No. Because I’ve never been in this situation.
.. I am very grateful because I never had to fight like that. (easy music) P: Her other option would be to just move away and say: “I’m leaving.” Like many have. “I can’t stand it anymore.“ “I can’t be free here.
” But she is standing here with a confident smile and says: “Of course, I stay. Of course, I continue.” Yes. (serious music) Yes. I have a lot of respect for that. (easy music) P: Just a quick explanation of how these so-called zones came to be.
In February 2019, the mayor of Warsaw declared that he wants to strengthen gay rights. Among other things, in sex education. S: But he received a lot of hate. Especially in the catholic southeast of Poland, there were many cities and municipalities that passed anti-LGBT resolutions.
P: There is a map, activists created. The map is called “The Atlas of Hate”. It shows, in red color, the so-called zones which now cover a third of the country. P: One of the men who are responsible for this first LGBT-free zone in Świdnik is the politician and district administrator Radosław Brzózka.
He agreed to meet with us. (easy music) (conversation in the background) You have talked of a so-called “LGBT ideology”. What do you mean by that? A group that has a certain program, a very dangerous one in our opinion, an utopian program, which can be called an ideological group, a political group with very revolutionary goals.
We have seen here over several decades how communism, which told us of wonderful goals, of great things it was supposed to achieve for the workers, turned out to be a totalitarian system. We are convinced that such radical tendencies can also occur in today’s times.
One of these tendencies is the ideology that demands that homosexuals may adopt children, that homosexual couples are equal in matters of marriage. In the meantime, well over a third of cities and municipalities here in Poland have signed similar declarations.
Are you happy about that? We are satisfied. We have even formulated a joint appeal. We want other societies to adopt such declarations, throughout Europe. We are convinced that these experiments, which are already taking place in western countries including Germany (Marriage for All), will not pass the practical test.
A gay man is standing in front of you. If I lived here in Poland, could I be open about my sexuality? Could I go out holding hands with my partner – without fear? A terrible lie is repeated. There are no zones free from LGBTQ or anything like that.
Our communities here simply care about the family. There is nothing threatening in it, not for anyone. Not even for people who have different views about their gender or sexuality. But if someone reveals that he has this or that quality in private life or in family life, then he must expect that friends, acquaintances will comment on it.
Nobody can protect us from that. But that means: when I tell the people here that I marry my husband, then everyone would congratulate me. But if this were a woman, then I would have to listen to sayings people would judge me.
Is that not unfair? No this is not unfair. For the Poles, marriage is a great good. But since they are consistent followers of the Christian religion, also of common sense, they know homosexual acts are morally evil.
They are the bad choice. (electronic music) (conversation in Polish) P: I am excited he gave us this statement with the title: “Set Europe free from the ideology!” S: After all, his opinion is that homosexuality is not innate but a choice.
And you can “unlearn” it. P: You can “train it off”. – S: That is his attitude, yes. He thinks they are worse human beings. P: Exactly, and statements like that open the door for assaults, for hatred and agitation.
But he says: “That’s not my responsibility.” “I have nothing to do with that.” Tomorrow we will meet activists who want to take action against that, who want to educate the public. And what is also exciting about tomorrow is that we will try out what he said would not be a problem: Being openly queer in public.
The activists are saying the exact opposite to his words. They say, it can be really dangerous. S: They have officially announced their protest tomorrow. So there will be police or at leats they are informed.
I am wondering if there will be any aggression and whether there will be a counter protest. (serious music) P: We are back. On the way to Alicja. Because she has spontaneously invited us to her village.
(fast music) P: So there was an article of a german newspaper and you saw a picture of you and I guess it was this house over there in the background. P: Then the neighbor called the police because he did not want his house in this context to be visible.
P: And what happend after? A: On Twitter there was a whole hate campaign against me an death threats. P: Death threats? A: Death threats about burning my house down. Something like: “Now we know where shes lives.
We can come to her, burn her house down and beat her or something. I was really afraid about my family, about my life. Ehm…so yeah. (quiet conversation) (electronic music) Here is my place. P: And this is kind of a homophobic sticker.
A: Yes. P: What does it mean? A: Family is a strenghts of nationality. P: And family means? A: Normal, heterosexual family. P: That is like… a bad joke. (electronic music) P: So tomorrow will be your event in Swidnik.
Is it dangerous for you to go on the street like this? A: Of course it is. In Swidnik it´s obvious and we already know that someone posted our event on a far right wing groups on facebook. We have to be prepared for every situation P: So what are you fighting for? A: I just really want to have a chance, to marry a women in the future.
To have a child, because I really do want a child. And I just want to feel safe and comfortable in my country, because it is my country P: I mean a lot of young, queer people left poland. Why? A: I´m not surprised.
P: But why do you stay? A: Someone has to fight! It´s not many people that have that self confidence. Someone has to do it and I think it´s me. To queer to fear! (electronic music) P: Again we meet Alicja.
Here with other activists. And also Bart who is one of the most famous LGBT activists in Poland. It is kind of a bizarre situation. There is a lot of press. (restless music) But you can already see that people are gathering around the square with very unmistakable imprints on their shirts.
But there is a lot of police here, too. (easy music) I do not know. I am really a bit… nervous. (easy music) (silent) P: What are your plans for today? Bart: We’re going to stand here with our project, which we call the “rainbow mythbusters”.
As we know that there are a lot of myths about the LGBTcommunity spread, by the polnish government, by othern politicians and local governments. Therefore we feel this need to come here and to show that we are not demons.
We are not an ideology, that we are just human beings. P: We have talked to Mr. Brzózka yesterday and he told us that there is no violence against queer people. B: I disagree. I feel like there is a lot of violoence towards the LGBT community.
We have seen this on last years pride. We see several cases where people were beaten just because the have too slim like jackets or there clothes that they had different color. We know that the problem is real and to say that it is not is just a lie.
(shouts in polish) P: When our camera was off we were insulted, too. But they do not want to talk to us on camera. (shouts in polish) (horn, bark) P: What the hell is going on here? Luckily, there is so much police here.
Otherwise… (shouts in polish) S: They are hooligans. They are shouting: “Girl, boy, a normal family, end the rainbow propaganda!” (easy music) A: Yes, I think I am ready now. Susanne: So why are you doing this? Why are you doing this to yourself? A: Because of them! S: So the louder they scream, the stronger you get? A: Exactly! That´s what I meant.
P: What a strange situation. There are not even ten activists and yet the place is filled with police in full gear. (easy music) It’s time to take a look. He just stands there and gives us this look. By the way, the hooligans across the street, who were shouting those insults, they are gone.
(electronic music) B: A lot of young people came. It was the first time ever that such a LGBT event was hold in the city. It´s more complicated. But there are like different people, but we support them, even if it´s hard for them right now.
But they are not alone. (electronic music) The protest behind us is slowly breaking up. There are fewer and fewer activists here. The hooligans have not come back, either. On the one hand, I am glad I got to witness how Alicja and Bart put together this event with so much courage.
On the other hand, I find it really terrifying how they were faced with such anger and aggression by the people on the other side of the street. I am really happy that there were was police here today.
For this film we wanted to find out why queer people in Poland are confronted with so much hate. I think the result is that it is not the people who are hated, but it is an abstract fear of a so-called ideology which is being used and amplified by politicians to get votes.
That definitely makes life harder for people like Alicja and Bart. I have got so much respect for Bart and Alicja who say: “No, we stay. This is our country, too. Now more than ever!” After these two days I am really exhausted.
I would be very happy to hear from you what you think about what you just saw. Let me know in the comments. If you liked this film, give us a subscription here on YouTube and follow us on Snapchat. Our colleagues of the Y Collective have taken a look at the situation of queer people in India.
You can find their film up here. (relaxed music)