Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki has blamed LGBTQ+ activist Bart Staszewski, who organised a protest against the country’s LGBTQ+ free zones, for the global backlash the Polish government has received regarding their treatment of the queer community. Staszewski travelled to areas which signed pledges agreeing to oppose ‘any acts of tolerance’ towards LGBTQ+ people, where he attached posters saying ‘LGBTQ+ free zone’ next to town signs.
Morawiecki has accused Staszewski of creating a ‘hoax’, saying “He completely falsified reality. To call it fake news would not do it justice. It was a deep fake.” He believes the protest has falsely led people to believe there were human rights issues in Poland. Despite Morawiecki’s claims that the Polish government is tolerant of all citizens, it is estimated 100 zones have declared themselves ‘LGBTQ+ free’.
Many have spoken out against the government’s anti-LGBTQ+ policies including head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and US presidential candidate Joe Biden. A further 350,000 have signed an All Out petition, demanding the EU take action to protect LGBTQ+ Poles. Opposition towards the community has grown rapidly since the 2020 re-election of anti-LGBTQ+ president Andrzej Duda who vowed to crack down on what he refers to as ‘LGBTQ+ ideology’, causing some queer Poles to flee country in fear.