Pawel Jablonski, Poland’s deputy foreign minister, has denied that the LGBTQ+ community are being persecuted in the country, saying the controversial ‘LGBTQ+ free zones’ do not exist. Jablonski was responding to an open letter, signed by diplomats from over 50 countries, urging the Polish government to stop mistreating the LGBTQ+ community and to facilitate a greater level of tolerance in the country. He insisted “every human being enjoys an equal level of protection under Polish law” and the reports of LGBTQ+ free zones are ‘fake news’.
Despite Jablonski’s recent statement, news of LGBTQ+ free zones has been circulating since the re-election of anti-LGBTQ+ president Andrzej Duda who believes the community’s ‘ideology’ is ‘more destructive than communism’. It is now estimated there are 100 LGBTQ+ free areas in Poland; head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and US presidential candidate Joe Biden have condemned the zones, saying they have ‘no place’ in the EU.
Around 350,000 signed a recent All Out petition demanding the EU provide greater protections for LGBTQ+ Poles, saying “hate and violence against LGBTQ+ communities in Poland are escalating”, even though Jablonski argues this is not ‘factual’.