Joe Biden emphatically decried Poland’s “LGBT-free zones”, saying Monday morning (September 21) spaces birthed from hostility have “no place in the European Union or anywhere in the world”.
The Democratic presidential nominee became the latest high-ranking official needled by the rise of anti-LGBT+ rhetoric and so-called “LGBT-free zones” in Poland, where governing lawmakers and leaders have compared LGBT+ “ideology” to “communism”.
Biden, 77, tweeted: “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’s denouncement came after the president of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen delivered a stinging broadside against Poland’s ruling right-wing Law and Justice Party, referring to the zones as “humanity-free”.
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. https://t.co/zc8YvSq6iN
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 21, 2020
Many European Union leaders have grappled with how to handle Poland’s dizzying spiral into homophobia, where Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the governing Law and Justice, has repeatedly positioned LGBT+ people as a corrosive threat to so-called traditional values.
Such attacks have been amplified further by a state media which has been twisted into a propaganda arm of the government, as well as by Catholic clergy leaders and the country’s president, Andrzej Duda.
Indeed, Duda and Kaczynski’s party election campaigns were both bitter displays in which support was sought by stirring disgust among voters, emboldening an increasing amount to commit acts of violence against LGBT+ people.
This new impunity felt by homophobes has seen Pride-goers at parades in far-flung towns have bottles, eggs and firecrackers lobbed at them, while Poland has become a patchwork of “LGBT-free zones” across 100 municipalities – more than one-third of the country.
As much as Poland’s ruling lawmakers have denied or downplayed these zones, European officials have imposed financial sanctions on “LGBT-free” towns by denying them funds for its town twinning programme.
MEPs and community leaders have urged EU leaders to safeguard the rights of LGBT+ community in Poland, with gay Polish politician Robert Biedron likening the “dehumanisation” of the LGBT+ community to the treatment of Jewish people before World War Two — echoing a similar warning from the country’s Jewish leaders.