The Polish town of Nowa Dęba has rescinded its previous declaration against “LGBT ideology.”
Nowa Dęba, a town in the southeastern part of Poland has removed a resolution that set it up as an ‘LGBT-free zone’ after claiming the resolution had been “misunderstood” and “exploited” to harm the town’s image.
Parts of Poland have been declaring themselves as an ‘LGBT-free zone’ free from “LGBT ideology.”
Local authorities are refraining from actions that could be seen as tolerant of the LGBTQ+ community, and are working to prevent financial aid for non-governmental organisations helping to promote equal rights.
A conservative newspaper also printed “LGBT-free zone” stickers for readers to publicly display in their homes.
Nowa Dęba was one of those towns, and as such it lost access to certain EU funding when they adopted resolutions against these “LGBT-free zones.”
The town also lost its twinned status with the town of Fermoy in Ireland last October. At the time, the mayor of Nowa Dęba, Wiesław Ordon, claimed criticisms were “fake news” and that the declaration had no actual legal effect.
At the time, he claimed that the town would “continue to undertake measures to prevent any behaviour discriminating against any minority, including LGBT people.”
Seemingly in a response, Nowa Dęba has now become the first town to withdraw from this anti-LGBTQ+ declaration, voting in favour on Thursday (28 January).
Notes from Poland reports that ten councillors voted in favour of rescinding, while one abstained and the other four didn’t take part.
Damian Diektiarenko, the head of the Nowa Dęba council said that the initial reaction to the declaration “have been misunderstood”, adding: “We cannot allow anyone to use this [issue] against our municipality. We cannot allow anyone to tarnish [our] image by exploiting this declaration.”
In recent years, the Polish government have targeted sexual minorities and supported organisations that spread homophobia.
The ‘LGBT-free’ zones came to fruition after the country’s ruling Law and Justice Party inspired several towns in Poland to be free from “LGBT ideology” – putting vulnerable LGBTQ+ citizens at risk of discrimination, prejudice and violence.
Fifty countries from around the world recently signed an open letter calling for Poland to “protect all citizens from violence and discrimination and to ensure they enjoy equal opportunities.”
“To this end, and in particular to shield communities in need of protection from verbal and physical abuse and hate speech, we need to jointly work on an environment of non-discrimination, tolerance and mutual acceptance,” it reads.
“This includes in particular sectors such as education, health, social affairs, citizenship, public service and public documents.
US president Joe Biden also quote-tweeted an article from ABC News, in which Ursula von der Leyen – the head of the European commission – criticised Poland’s ruling party for their anti-LGBTQ+ approach to policy and human rights.
“Let me be clear: LGBTQ+ rights are human rights — and “LGBT-free zones” have no place in the European Union or anywhere in the world,” Biden wrote.