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piątek, lipca 01, 2005

We are all gays?

We are all gays?

News Poland
by Wojciech Rogacin

The Consilience Forum audience listened to
"Being Gay in Poland" at the monthly meeting.

"My name is Matthew, I'm gay."

This confession is nothing strange in... let's say... California. But it is nearly an act of a heroism in Poland. Still especially when you make the confession in front of your family. Or when you are assaulted on the street just because you are a gay.

That was the revelation of Matthew who was the presenter at another Consilience Forum meeting at the Pasta Cafe (Kamionkowska 48a), Warsaw, last Tuesday. An activist of the Forum Against Homophobia, Matthew tried to present all the myths and realities about being gay in Poland.

Surprisingly, there were not too many participants this time at the Cafe. And even the plates full of fruits didn't make the discussion lighter or sweeter. The main point of disagreement between Matthew and some in the audience was the provocative elements present during gay parades. For him Polish parades are nothing more than an opportunity to show to the society that gays are living among them and they need certain rights. It is a way to say "We're here. We exist."

Thanks Matthew!

For his opponents, parades are only strenghtening stereotypes about gays in Poland ­ as obscene people demanding more and more rights. As Matthew said, in Poland the discussion about gay rights started just five or so years ago. In the West it's 20 years old.

Anyway, all this stuff is not so black-and-white as one would want to see it. For example I don't like the expressions made by Jacek Zakowski in “Polityka" magazine that “we are all gays." But on the other hand I remember when I was assaulted and hit in my face by a drunk man at Wola one winter night, some year and a half ago. He attacked me just because I wore a scarf that protected my head against snow and wind. For this man the person who wears a scarf on the head is either a woman or a gay. So in his vision I was simply a gay, and his philosophy was that when you are a gay it's OK to harm you.

So I can truly say: it's not easy to be a gay in Poland.

**Editor's Note - Read about the history of 'Gay Poland'
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