“I do not consider my action offensive, I was confirmed by many active Catholics who denied any offensive character.”

Three LGBTQ+ activists in Poland have been put on trial for carrying posters that showcased the Virgin Mary and Jesus with rainbow halos.

Back in April 2019 Elżbieta Podleśna, Anna Prus, and Joanna Gzyra-Iskandar Podleśna carried the posters during a peaceful Pride protest.

According to the popular polish publication Wyborcza.pl, the three women are facing up to two years of prison for offending the church and religious feelings.

Elżbieta Podleśna challenged the potential conviction, stating: “The immediate impulse for our action was the installation of the Holy Sepulcher, containing homophobic content. Located in the church of St. Dominika in Płock.

She continued: “[…] The Church, which claims to be a community of love, exposes such people to hatred since the high representatives of the Episcopate call people the rainbow plague.”

In recent years, the Polish government have targeted sexual minorities and supported organisations that spread homophobia.

“Your Honor, there was no depiction of a sexual act in the images. I stand before the court of a secular state. Are we talking, your honour, about deeds, or about people of a specific orientation or identity, because of their two separate issues.

“I do not consider my action offensive, I was confirmed by many active Catholics who denied any offensive character,” she continued.

These arrests are just one of the many injustices LGBTQ+ people face in Poland.

The country has faced controversy in recent years due to their “LGBT-free” zones and consist ant-LGBTQ+ views.

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.

Since the announcement of these zones 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.

“We pay tribute to the hard work of LGBTI and other communities in Poland and around the world, as well as the work of all those who seek to ensure human rights for LGBTI and other persons belonging to communities facing similar challenges, and to end discrimination in particular on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The letter ends by stating that “human rights are universal and everyone, including LGBTI persons, are entitled to their full enjoyment,” and that this is “something that everyone should support.”