Six towns in Poland have been denied European Union funding as they have declared themselves ‘LGBTQ+ free zones’. The towns have signed pledges which oppose acts of tolerance towards the LGBTQ+ community.
Their requests for town twinning, which comes with potential funding, have been dismissed, with EU commissioner for equality Helena Dalli saying that ‘EU values and fundamental rights must be respected’, and the move to brand towns gay-free breached this requirement to receive EU privileges.
Anti-LGBTQ+ president Andrzej Duda’s recent election victory – giving him five more years in power – has been a blow to queer rights in the country as he branded LGBT rights activism an ‘ideology’ worse than the communism.
A 2020 survey by ILGA-Europe has demonstrated that Poland is the least developed country in the EU in terms of LGBTQ+ equality. The survey also tracked regression in equality for queer citizens of Poland over the course of the past year.
The increase in anti-LGBTQ+ zones means that now approximately one-third of Poland falls under this category, with most of these areas being in the conservative south east region. The EU has taken a stance against this development in Poland by not only denying town twinning, but by threatening to cut pandemic recovery funds and urging the governors of the region to take measures to promote equality.