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Being gay in Poland

Dear John

I do hope you are both, you and Gary well.

Poland Gay rights and the zones.

You perhaps remember my husband is Polish, 10 years living together 5 of which we have been married.

We visit Poland often..

I also have been extensively in Poland for the last 35 years and also its neighbour Belarus :- God save the poor souls there.

Cards on the table as a gay man, Poland is a wonderful country to visit but a no no to live there for all sorts of reasons some gay related, but only some. There are bigger issues to be concerned about.

The gay thing is complex.

Gay life is not easy there but then its not easy in small village Wales or small town Lincolnshire.

Gay sex has been legal in Poland since 1932 and the age of consent has always been set at 15 years old and always equal. Gay sex became legal here in 1967 and the unequal age of consent was 21.

Since 1932 being gay did not bar you from military service.

An anti discrimination law enacted 2003, however authorities sometimes look the other way.

Poor old Poland has had no role models, no Elton John, Freddie Mercury, Tim Curry, Nuryev tom Daley etc etc

Gay movements have been crippled not by government, police etc but young gay Poles look to UK, Netherlands Germany as the promised land of the free. Better wages, Gay freedom away from Mum and Dad etc.

I think these are a few of the reasons why. Its easier to move away just as it is easier to move to London, Brighton Manchester for the young small town Gay

Catholic Church

Was very very good to the Poles in the time of troubles, not just the church but many many Priests. Food, Shel;ter underground press in the communist times etc. Some priests lost their lives in nasty ways helping Solidarity. Barbed wire restraints and dumped in rivers etc. The ordinary people believe they owe a huge debt of gratitude and will follow their teaching which is of course anti gay as well as anti abortion and some other crippling teachings. Poland is more Catholic than the Vatican is not a joke.

Right wing government

Law and Justice Party

Do not underestimate the politicians. They are clever and some are nasty. If you wish to unite a people be nasty about a minority. Jews and Nazi Germany. I am sure they could not give a flying fuck about gays and would not object to same sex marriage etc but its an easy way to stir up people. to unite people.

I spend a lot of time in 2 Polish cities. Torun and Bydgoszcz. No gay bars no gay coffee shops. Gay people live there, have there own networks etc. Very difficult to break into. However quite a few large UK towns and cities with no gay bars these days.

Result the Gay free zones are almost meaningless. They do however have the effect of making the majority think that Government, [local] is taking action when there is none.

Living as 2 gay men or women in neighbourhoods will be difficult in Poland. You will be shunned and excluded. Not helped if you need help. That is true in the zones and outside the zones.

Well educated and liberal people will be your friends, even close friends but with a tolerance not complete acceptance. Love the sinner hate the sin, a residue of Catholic teaching in the same way as some have a guilt over using contraception.

In the EU. Yes of course they should be.

UK and Ireland joined 1973 gay status was not easy in UK then

1986 Spain and Portugal

2004 Poland and 9 others joined

None of these countries had easy living for Gays then.

Poland is a fledgling democracy and without EU, Russia would be its eager friend again and Gays would really be in trouble.

EU withholds funds from the zones. 50 international ambassadors make representations.

They have a major pro gay politician Bideron who is from a party that would move through legislation to equalise if they were in power.

I believe Poland will get better, I believe the zones do make youngsters more ashamed of themselves and less likely to be open, however they do know not all EU states are the same and Poles are great at learning other languages and they have the freedom to move within the EU.

They will move out.

I love my Pole, he is not and was not brought up Catholic{very rare} He is skilled very well educated and kind. He recognises the issues but points to women who have very limited access to contraception and no abortion as being one of the great issues of Poland and then the migration de skilling of Poland, which of course he is part of, due to the mass migration this creates problems for the country and is from they very liberal part of the population that is needed to make a government which is kinder.

When I am in Boscombe I talk with the Boscombe Poles in the supermarkets, cafes etc. They have varied reasons for being in UK money is only one. The Government often comes up.

If we seek problems, Belarus, next door to Poland.

I know a young gay hospital doctor, 38 years old who has a Dacha in the forest. Like a giant allotment with a substantial wooden hut, chimney bed etc in. Next to his is another Dacha, another youngish man with crops grown and harvested by he and his Mum. About 40 Dachas exist on this spot.

The two men are lovers, Mum knows and accepts. the law officially accepts but both men say they would "disappeared" if the authorities knew. All were petrified when they knew I had clocked them even though I am well known as a regular UK visitor. Without her son the Mum would be destitute.

I have know some in Belarus who disappear. They never reappear.


John Bellamy Responds:


Thank you for this,. Exactly what we needed to help us look into the actions of what is being seen as anti gay rhetoric from a country not exactly known for being LGBT friendly and somewhat backward in its view of the world, especially from that macho mans perspective that seems to dominate Poland. It is a young country coming out of Communism and has a long way to go and joining the EU was a good start BUT DO NOT BACKTRACK on laws passed enabling entrance to the EU and then reverse these laws after being accepted. Poland expects MASSIVE MONIES from the EU which will be withheld if they continue harassment of the LGBT community.




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