Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Pexels
UK cities are being encouraged to lobby their Polish 'twin' counterparts to stop the rise of so-called 'LGBT-free zones' in the country.
One such example is Lincoln, which has had a local government-formalised connection with the Polish city of Radomsko since 2007.
Radomsko is located in one of over 100 'LGBT-free zones' in Poland that have declared war on what is deemed 'gay propaganda'.
"Many twinning relationships date back generations and signify deep cultural ties"
The campaign on 'twinning' - also known as 'partner towns' or 'sister cities' - is being led by Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran.
Moran today told Attitude: “Recent events in Poland should deeply concern all of us. That’s why I launched the Protect Our Twins campaign – the Liberal Democrats won’t stand for the suppression of LGBTQ+ people anywhere in the world.
“Attitude’s readers can get involved in the campaign online at lgbt.libdems.org.uk, and can also help their twins by asking their local councillors to sign up and join, and even writing themselves to activists in Polish areas twinned with their own to support them.”
In a short essay posted the official Lib Dem website today, Moran explained: "Labelling LGBTQ+ as an ‘ideology’ and suppressing LGBTQ+ people is outrageous and Liberal Democrats will not stand for it.
"That’s why, in partnership with human rights campaigners in Poland, the Liberal Democrats have launched a new campaign to 'protect our twins'. We’re asking local councils twinned with towns in Poland to enter a period of engagement to reflect the need for education and humanity in the face of the 100+ 'LGBT ideology-free' zones created so far in Poland."
The Lib Dem MP for Oxford West & Abingdon continued: "As part of the campaign, UK councils paired with Polish towns are being asked to pass motions to begin a formal period of diplomacy. Many twinning relationships date back generations and signify deep cultural ties.
"For regions that have enacted these zones, we will ask to end them. For regions considering creating hate zones, we will ask them to stop. For regions that have rejected the hate zones, we will thank them for upholding the human rights of the global LGBT community.
"Liberal Democrats are leading the 'protect our twins' charge to make sure communities cannot be put under threat, people are not discriminated against and human rights are free from attack.
"This is a crucially important moment to take action against the systematic discrimination of minorities in Poland and promote European values to our friends and neighbours, and set an example here in the UK.
"As European liberals, we still have such an important role to play here and this initiative is one of the best ways to show our values, stand up for a community that is being discriminated against and set an example for human rights beyond our borders. Liberal Democrats will work to protect our LGBTQ+ allies in the UK, in Poland and around the world. Join the campaign."
The move follows French minister Clément Beaune being refused access to one of the zones this week, just months after coming out publicly as gay and promising to fight anti-LGBTQ attitudes in Poland and Hungary.
In 2019, Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, called Pride "travelling theatre", adding that the law must be enforced to "regulate these matters."