Law and Justice party leader says LGBT+ people are a ‘threat to Polish identity, to our nation, to its existence and thus to the Polish state’
'Upbeat ‘80s pop music accompanied about 1,000 rainbow-draped activists as they embarked on this city’s first-ever LGBT+ rights march last weekend.
But the music could barely drown out the boos from bystanders.
The marchers proceeded past banners that compared gays to paedophiles.
They pressed on in the face of counter-protesters making threatening gestures and Catholics praying on the sidewalks in silent protest.
The scene reflected a growing tension in this country – between a burgeoning rights movement and a conservative backlash.
Ahead of parliamentary elections this autumn, the Law and Justice party has thrown the full weight of its party apparatus behind a campaign that is marginalising Poland’s LGBT+ community, its critics say.
The party’s new focus on countering what its officials call Western “LGBT ideology” has largely replaced its prior rallying cries against migrants, said Michal Bilewicz, a researcher at the University of Warsaw who tracks the prevalence of prejudices against minorities in public discourse.
In 2015, anti-migrant rhetoric helped the right-wing populist party come to power, according to data gathered by Mr Bilewicz.
But even at the height of Europe’s surge, Poland never saw many non-European migrants, and public attention became more difficult to sustain once the flow to the continent diminished.'
Read more: Polish cities and provinces declare ‘LGBT-free zones’ as government ramps up ‘hate speech’