There was a rare moment of peace amid Poland’s deluge of homophobic hate as an elderly woman kissed the feet of an LGBT+ activist protesting in Warsaw.
It happened as a group of seniors gathered in front of a Warsaw court to pray on behalf of the Catholic radio and televisions Radio Maryja and TV Trwam.
Their prayer was interrupted by the shouts of a 21-year-old woman wrapped in a rainbow flag and face mask, who desperately tried to highlight the plight of LGBT+ people in “this f***ked up” country.
The moment could’ve easily descended into violence like so many of the religious-led protests at Pride parades, but this time things took a surprising turn.
An 81-year-old woman slowly emerged from the chanting crowd, walked up to the young activist, kneeled in front of her and kissed her feet – and suddenly the tension broke.
When the activist noticed the old woman had tears in her eyes she broke down too and enveloped her in a hug. “Please, don’t cry,” she said.
In the footage, the woman is heard telling her: “My whole life, I fought for Poland and I lived to see a moment when I’m close to leaving this world that Poland is divided.
“I am very sad because of this, I feel terrible. And these children, our poor children, which were raised by ‘non-Polish’ Poles.”
The video ends with both women making the sign of the cross.
Polish media presented the video as a victory for Christianity, rather than a clear sign that Christians need to embrace a little more tolerance towards LGBT+ people.
The editor of right-wing news site WPolityce acknowledged the “lack of understanding and love” in the debate, but somehow applied this failing to LGBT+ protesters – whom she described as “damaged souls” – rather than the religious right.
“This is an incredibly touching scene,” she said. “After all, if the girl came to the protest alone and decided to interrupt the prayer in that kind of manner, then she must have been strongly determined and deeply convinced of the validity of such actions.
“Yet, her reaction to the gesture of the elderly woman completely changed her behaviour. It revealed her empathy, and maybe even an attempt to understand?”
No attempt at understanding was made by Catholic Radio Maryja, which triumphantly shared the footage as a “confused girl” being “dumbfounded” by a woman’s faith.
A more insightful reading of the situation might be that a little tolerance goes a long way when you stop labelling queer people as paedophiles for literally two seconds.