The European Union (EU) has been declared an “LGBTIQ freedom zone” in response to Poland‘s heinous ‘LGBT-free zones’.
The move by the European Parliament comes two years after the first local authority in Poland declared itself an “LGBTIQ-free zone”. Since March 2019, more than 100 regions, counties and municipalities in Poland have declared themselves to be free from LGBT+ “ideology”.
But now MEPs have voted to declare the EU a “LGBTIQ freedom zone” in a symbolic protest against the discriminatory policies promoted in Poland. The European Parliament adopted the resolution by 492 votes in favour, 141 against and 46 absentations.
The resolution declares that LGBT+ people “everywhere in the EU should enjoy the freedom to live and publicly show their sexual orientation and gender identity without fear of intolerance, discrimination or persecution”.
It adds “authorities at all levels of governance across the EU should protect and promote equality and the fundamental rights of all, including LGBTIQ persons”.
Terry Reintke, a German MEP, called for other governments to use the declaration of the EU as an LGBTIQ freedom zone as the first step towards more inclusion. She wrote on Twitter: “Let’s put it into concrete political action: Better laws, better enforcement, better protection.
“Together we can do it.”
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen backed the EU resolution before it went to a debate on Thursday (11 March). She tweeted that “being yourself is not an ideology. It’s your identity”.
Von der Leyen wrote: “No one can ever take it away. The EU is your home. The EU is a #LGBTIQFreedomZone.”
The EU move comes as the Polish government announced a proposal for a ban on same-sex adoption. The country already does not legally recognise same-sex relationships, and same-sex couples cannot adopt children together.
However, single people who are LGBT+ are permitted to adopt.
Under the new law, however, authorities will be required to perform background checks on anyone applying to stop as a single parent. If the person who is applying to adopt as a single parent is found to be in a same-sex relationship, they will be held criminally liable.
Earlier in the week, an openly gay minister revealed Poland’s right-wing government had threatened to cancel his visit.
During a two-day trip to Poland, Clément Beaune, France’s minister for European affairs, said he was denied access to one of Poland’s ‘LGBT-free zones’ ahead of his trip to the country.
The EU official said Polish authorities prevented him from visiting the town of Krasnik, one of the ‘LGBT+ free zones’, when he asked for permission. According to Beaune, the officials claimed he couldn’t visit because of the “difficulties of the health situation” with COVID.
Beaune had vowed to visit Poland to draw attention to the nation’s anti-LGBT+ climate after he came out as gay in December. He said he will return again and travel to one of the anti-gay zones.