RAINBOW UPRISING  Since the right wing party PiS is in power Polands rainbow community is under intensified pressure by massive hate propaganda directed from verious sides. Politicians, church dignitaries, fundamental groups and parts of main media spredding conspiratorial and false information about LGBT+ people to exclude them from polish society. During Andrzej Dudas election campagne for becoming the president of Poland the second time anti-LGBT+ propaganda was one of his most used instruments for getting votes. Since 2019 many local governments brought LGBT+ discrimination on a new level as they declared to be „LGBT-free zones“. In may 2020 the world wide union for LGBT+ organizations ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) named Poland the most problamatic country in European Union regarding to LGBT+ rights. After Dudas presidential reelection in July 2020 the propaganda did not stop. It's kept saying that LGBT+ is just an ideology coming from western Europe that has to be stopped to save the tradition of polish families. The most 
LGBT+ people in Poland can't openly live their gender expression or sexuality. The states propaganda against 
queers has gotten many belivers in polish society. Except of hiding their identity the rest of their lives or risking to get beaten on the streets especially younger LGBT+ people leaving Poland to western european capitals or even prepare to do so. Beginning of August 2020 was the start of massive solidarity movement. Flash point was a mass arrest of almost 50 people that protested against the detention of Margot, a transgender LGBT+ activist who got sued also for putting rainbowflags on Warsaws monuments. Over a whole month every day protests accued over all the country. Some people even called out a Polish Stonewall.
The day after Margots detention thousands of protesters demonstrating against hate propaganda and police violence. As an act of solidarity people put LGBT+ flags on a statue at cultural palace in the center of Warsaw.
Jabuk Gawron (front) and Paweł Preneta, two makers of Atlas Of Hate, an online map monito-ring these so called „LGBT-free-zones“. The Atlas raised huge media attention on anti-LGBT+ propaganda in Poland and made the structural discrimination of polish LGBT+ com-munity visible through out showing anti-LGBT+ resolutions.
 
(red) a regional Council enacted a resolution for "LGBT-free Zone" (green) resolutions that were rejected or have been removed from the political agenda (yellow) different lobbying activities
source: Atlas Of Hate https://atlasnienawisci.pl
Charlotte (right) invites to play bingo once a week. 
The bar Pogłos is one of just a few queer friendly places in Warsaw.
Demostration in Warsaw, August 2020
Martin Huang, 22 years old and living in Warsaw.
 Since I remember I didn't felt as same as other girls. I prefered to be with boys, playing war games and things like that. My mom forced me to wear girly dresses, having my hair long and to put up make up because that are girls things and I "as a girl" should look that way. That felt very uncomfortable to me. 

I felt that this is not myself, that this is'nt me. At this time I did'nt know what it is and when I was 12 years old, I started to research about it because this film about not being myself was always with me. I started to look for information and also asking my parents that something is probably wrong and that I needed help to get to know what it is. My mom told me that I sould'nt think about it. That I am just a tomboy and when I will be grown up everything will disappear. I startet to wear a binder to flaten my chest. At the age of 17 it I felt worse and worse. I went to the school psycologist to ask for help. There I was told that this is not normal that I may have psycological problems and I have to heal this mental illness. That was very hard time for me. When I was 18 years old I first committed to try suicide because I did'nt accept myself. Two years later I went to a psycologist in a private clinic. There I was told that this is transgender and there is nothing bad with it, that its just very common. This was the very first time I heard about transgender. When you start a transition, the first step is to go to a specialist. There you find out what your transition can be and how it works. Only for that I paid about 1500 €. 
After that I got an recieve to get my hormones which also cost 50€ per month. 
You wont get any help from your health insurance, so because its cheaper I started giving me hormone injection by myself. My second step will be to remove my breast. At the same time I have to sue my parents to change my name officially. 
This will be a very hard time because my mother will not support me. 
I know a trans-woman that already got a gender reassignment. She unsuccessfully has been suing her parents since ten years to change her name.  My parents got to know about my transgender identity in summer 2019. After that I started my transition, what now is six months ago. My dad was very open minded to my decision. But my mom tried to force me to change my mind, to speak to more psychologists. She was very upset. She asked me, what the people would think about that. She told me that I am selfish doing this, because she as an architect was afraid that her reputation could go down having a transgender child. My father went away because he couldnt stand to my mothers behavior anymore. 
I am now living with my mom and my grandma together in the same house, but my mom force me to hide my transgender to my grandma. Living together this way is very uncomfortable for me because my grandma always treat me as female. 
I cant say anything against it. My mum said if I would have a coming out at home I would have to move out immediatley. Because of my transition my voice goes deeper and deeper with time. And my mum force me to say that I have healthy problems, that I may have corona sympthoms. This is crazy but I have to say that to my grandma. Two months ago my mom told me when I continue my transition she will not have a child anymore. The transition is very ecpensive here in Poland, so I have big depts. My mom knows about this and she says when I paid my depts I have to leave her house. She does not want to have a son. So, when I paid my depts and when I have to move out, I will also have no mother anymore. About being LGBT+ in Poland, I tell you that so much polish LGBT+ people are forced to be someone different. You have to be heteronormative. When you are different to that they treat you as an alien. You are an enemy. Even my mother said that to me. „Are you pedophile?“, she asked. She just believes into this anti-LGBT+ propaganda. Any words of PiS politics is holy for her. Most religious people here don't really think about what god says, that you have to love each other. They say they are fighting against LGBT+ in the name of god. This is very hipocratical, but this is polish people. 
 
You know, when I'm on the streets with another person I feel quiet save. But alone? On the streets I don't pick up the phone because my appearance still dosen't fit to my voice yet. There are those people that are strongly influenced by the propaganda of Andrzej Duda and PiS and if those patriots would see me and hear my voice at the same time there is a high chance for me to get beaten. When they see people with some kind of rainbow or just if you look to colorful, they will comment your appearance. Sometimes they follow people to their homes. This is very dangerous. In most places if you have trouble on the streets, no one will help you. Also polish police is not on our side. When they see a LGBT+ person beeing attacked they wouldn't do anything. Politicians support that behavior, they like to see people fighting against us. This is the future for Poland and it's getting worse. The Plan from PiS is to make gender-transition illegal, like in Hungary. 
So, welcome to Poland! And now after all, people ask why the actual protest is so aggressive and why we are so unpaitient. They say, we schould educate he people and explain our situation before fighting for our rights. But we educated them the last 20 years and nothing really changed, it even got worse. So we will not be patient anymore. That's the only thing we have right now. You see, there are many reasons why LGBT+ people think about commit suicide, mostly because they can't be their own person. Now, so many LGBT+ see no future here anymore. 

We only want to be ourselves. So, after my transition and when I have to leave my mothers house I want to emigrate to Taiwan immediately because people there are very tolerant and open minded to LGBT+.


Marzenna Latawiec and her two gay sons Paweł (left) and Stanisław (right). She is one of the founders of My Rodzice (engl.: We, the parents) an association that work is to sensitize other parents that have LGBT+ children.
Jej Perfekcyjność (engl.: your perfection) non-binary trans person, activist since 13 years, organizer of Euro Pride and other LGBT+ events. For many years Jej was threatened by a neighbor next door. Jej remembers a long period when they felt unsave each and every time entering the own apartment. Once Jej even had to call the police to do so, as there was allways a risk of getting beaten by the man next door.
Jej and Charlotte doing their weekly selforganized show during the covid pandemic. Here those two speak with other activists and queer people about LGBT+ related issues and politics but also offer sex positive formats to the audience.
Hooligans protesting against LGBT+. In the last years agressive attacks against non-hetero normative people increased drama-tically while anti-LGBT+ propaganda got used in politics 
and media more and more. 

Since Margot and other activists put rainbow flags on this jesus statue to protest, the monument is guarded by police regulary.
Sign in the middle: "Klaudie, killed by homophobia. She was 15 years old"
 Some people were telling, that all this propaganda (against LGBT+) is just political game and they are not really fighting against us, that this „LGBT-free zones“ are just a piece of paper. 
 Until Atlas of hate was published in december 2019, not everyboby was so much interested to speak about LGBT+. Even if we were very loudly saying that something disgusting happens in the 21st century in the middle of europe. Even if they call us an ideology. 2019 was the highest number of pride parades in Poland since ever before. There were 30 to 40 prides in bigger and smaller places and it was amazing to see all that. The more the governement is pushing us the more we are responding. It's called rainbow solidarity. 
The arresting of Margot for 2 months, which of course had political reasons, ended up in solidarity protests around Poland, and all around the world. That gives me support and the power to fight even more. Some people told that what is happening now is a polish Stonewall. I think there is a momentum and big things happening right now. It can be a tuning point for Poland for the next future. We now have a quiet big opportunity to speak about our rights. I think the next govenement that will be elected will be a liberal one. We just need to resist this time and we have to keep up fighting for our rights another 4 years until the next election. I think it will all take 10 years to have more equal rights, and I am quite sure that we will have. It's just a matter of time. 

 Bart Staszewski, gay activist based in Warsaw
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