Homophobic vandals have destroyed an LGBT stand at street fair in Szczecin, Poland just days before the city’s inaugural Pride celebration

Poland is a socially conservative country, where a majority of the population are adherents of the Catholic faith, which totally condemns homosexuality. This has a strong influence on the perception and acceptance of the LGBT movement in Poland. Nevertheless, country’s leadership tries to keep pace with other European countries with regard to LGBT issues and nowadays, many LGBT rights have been recognized. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Poland, bisexual and gay men are allowed to donate blood and serve openly in the military, transgender people are allowed to change their legal gender, etc. Thus, there has been no advancement in the matters of marriage, civil partnership or parenting for same-sex couples.

Despite the social non-acceptance, LGBT groups and organizations are working hard to make the local community independent and visible. In June 2017, the capital of Poland – Warsaw has become the hosting city of EuroPride and has seen more than 10, 000 attendants. Besides, the biggest Polish cities have already established annual Pride Festivals, where local LGBT community is able to declare about their existence and demand the right for equality. Among such events are: Queer May in Krakow in April, Equality Days in Warsaw in June and Equality and Tolerance Days in Poznan in November.

This year promises to become landmark for the LGBT community of another Polish city – Szczecin. The thing is that city will host its first ever Pride parade within the September 2018, called Equality March. Local LGBT group Lambda Szczecin together with other human rights groups have organized a themed street fair for people to have a nice time and know more about the minority groups. Lambda Szczecin decorated their stand with Pride flags and umbrellas, prepared photo and literature exhibition and offered refreshments to bystanders. The event meant to be a peaceful, family-friendly entertainment, when in the middle of the event, five people descended on the fair and started tearing down the rainbow decorations. They had eventually destroyed the LGBT stand and frightened attendants of the event. While the police sort through this, Lambda Warsaw decided to organize trainings for victim support service providers ahead of the inaugural Szczecin Pride. According to representatives of Lambda, Pride festival is vitally important to improve LGBT acceptance in Szczecin. The festival sets off on September 15, 2018.