On October 16-17th we gathered in Łódź for 3rd National Congress of Marching Cities. During the Congress, the Polish Prides Alliance was established, which now will enable all 29 signatory organizations from all over the country to draw from common sources of knowledge and exchange experiences. This is a new chapter in the fight for the rights of LGBTQIA+ people in Poland.
Our Alliance is a response to the deteriorating situation of LGBTQIA+ people in Poland, who are the target of hate speech by public figures. This fuels physical violence on city streets, drastic examples of which could be observed during the 1st Equality March in Bialystok. Aggression is no longer limited to insults, thrown eggs, bottles and stones, but also takes extreme forms, such as an attempt to carry out a bomb attack during the 2nd Equality March in Lublin.
For years, Poland has been at the very end of the European Union in terms of respecting the rights of non-heteronormative and transgender people. The demands of the community remain the same: civil marriages for same-sex couples, regularization of the status of rainbow families, prohibition of harmful conversion therapies, introduction of regulations enabling dignified transition of transgender people.
As a culmination of our gathering we joind a demonstration on Piotrkowska Street initiated by the hosts of the Congress, the Equality Factory Association from Łódź. During the event we expressed our concern about “Stop LGBT” bill, which was introduced to polish parliament and, among other things, bans equality marches. This is an attack on the constitutional right to freedom of assembly.
„”Our parliament has begun work on the so-called „Stop LGBT Act”. The bill includes a ban on the organization of equality marches and other equality events in public space. For young people growing up in small cities these events are often the only day of the year when they can proudly and without fear march and meet other people like them. Under the guise of strong slogans about public morality and protection of children, LGBT+ people are deprived of their constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. This is incompatible not only with human rights or international law, but even with the Polish Constitution, the project was sent to the committee for work. The fact that such projects are even allowed for debate in our parliament dehumanizes LGBT+ people in itself and additionally emphasizes that the ruling party considers us second-class citizens” – said Małgorzata Mróz from the Secretariat of thePolish Prides Alliance, president and representative of the Equality Marches in Częstochowa and Gdynia