Swietkorzyskie revoked its anti-LGBTQ+ commitment after the European Union threatened to take away its funding.
The regional assembly of Swietkorzyskie voted for the removal of the status on 22 September, becoming the first time an area in Poland has done so.
According to Euronews, the Polish government asked areas to revoke the declaration and no one at the meeting opposed stepping back from ‘LGBT-free’ status – though three councillors abstained.
Around 100 towns and regions have made the pledge to oppose “LGBT ideology” since 2019, which they say undermines Poland’s ‘traditional’ Christian values.
Inside the localities, the promotion of LGBT+ equality is banned and homophobia is becoming increasingly normalised, leaving members of the community feeling unsafe and scared for the future.
The non-binding resolutions coincided with a recent increase in anti-LGBT+ rhetoric, which has been driven in part by the openly homophobic attitude of Andrzej Duda, the current President of Poland.
Duda has previously expressed a desire to rollback LGBT+ rights and referred to the campaign for LGBT+ equality as “a foreign ideology” that is similar to indoctrination in the Soviet Union.
During his re-election campaign in 2020, Duda signed a “Family Charter” which promised to “defend children from LGBT ideology” by banning the teaching of LGBT+ issues in schools and preventing gay couples from marrying or adopting children.
Millions of euros of funding were also put on hold, resulting in the country’s conservative government starting to reel back the changes.
“The region of Swietkorzyskie today decided to withdraw homophobic bill and end existence of LGBT-free zone on it soil,” Bart Staszewski, a Polish LGBTQ+ activist, wrote on Twitter. “It is great day for Poland and great success of activists and civil society. I am really moved.”
According to the Polish media, Swietkorzyskie has now committed to “a guarantee of equality and fair treatment for all”.
On 27 September, the region of Krakow is expected to consider a similar move to ditch their ‘LGBT-free’ status.
The region of Swietkorzyskie today decided to withdraw homophobic bill and end existence of LGBT-free zone on it soil. It is great day for Poland and great success of activists and civil society. I am really moved.
— Bart Staszewski 🏳️🌈🇵🇱 (@BartStaszewski) September 22, 2021