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EU Declared ‘LGBTQ+ Freedom Zone’ In Response To Poland’s LGBT-Free Zones

by : Emily Brown on : 12 Mar 2021 11:58
EU Declared 'LGBTQ+ Freedom Zone' In Response To Poland's LGBT-Free ZonesWikimedia/PA Images

The entire European Union has been declared as an ‘LGBTIQ Freedom Zone’ after local authorities in Poland described areas as ‘LGBT ideology-free zones.’

The European Parliament passed the symbolic resolution following support from 492 MEPs, declaring that ‘LGBTIQ persons everywhere in the EU should enjoy the freedom to live and publicly show their sexual orientation and gender identity without fear of intolerance, discrimination or persecution.’

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Authorities ‘at all levels of governance across the EU’ are encouraged to ‘protect and promote equality and the fundamental rights of all, including LGBTIQ persons’, under the resolution, which was announced just hours after the Polish government proposed an adoption ban for same-sex couples.

Pride in London Parade 2019PA Images

As of September 2020, approximately 100 towns and regions across Poland passed resolutions declaring themselves free of ‘LGBT ideology’, BBC News reports. The resolutions are essentially symbolic and unenforceable, but they serve to alienate members of the LGBTQ+ community and indicate they are not welcome in the areas.

German MEP Terry Reintke, one of the people who put forward the resolution, addressed the parliament ahead of the vote and stressed that the resolution was a ‘first step’.

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Per The Guardian, she commented:

You call us lunatics. You call us an irrelevant minority. You call us perverts. You call us an ideology. When all we ask for is equality. You paraphrase books written thousands of years ago to justify your hate. You take away our rights to distract from the shortcomings of your own politics.

You scapegoat our communities when all we ask for is safety. You attack our families. You tell people we are a threat. You deny us the right to be who we want to be when all we ask is freedom. But we will not give up just because you keep attacking us.

This declaration might only be a first step. We know our lives are still in danger, our rights restricted, our freedoms brutally suffocated in far too many places in the European union. But it is a step. We are many, we are everywhere and we are strong.

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Of those who voted on the resolution, 141 voted against it and 46 abstained. Among those who opposed the resolution were eleven members of the European people’s party.

After the resolution was passed, Reintke celebrated the ‘overwhelming majority’ of support it received. She tweeted: ‘Let’s use it. Let’s put it into concrete political action: better laws, better enforcement, better protection. Together we can do it.’

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen showed her support for the resolution ahead of the vote on Thursday, writing on Twitter: ‘Being yourself is not an ideology. It’s your identity. No one can ever take it away. The EU is your home. The EU is a #LGBTIQFreedomZone.’

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The resolution noted that discrimination is an issue that not only needed to be addressed in Poland, but also ‘across the EU’.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, European Union, LGBTQ+, Now, Poland

Credits

BBC News and 1 other
  1. BBC News

    Inside Poland’s 'LGBT-free zones'

  2. The Guardian

    MEPs vote to declare the European Union an ‘LGBTIQ freedom zone’