A lesbian couple shared their powerful experiences as parents to promote acceptance of queer families as the LGBT+ community faces backlash in Poland.
Miłość Nie Wyklucza (Love Does Not Exclude), a non-governmental organisation promoting LGBT+ rights in Poland, launched its Jesteśmy rodziną (We are a family) campaign to highlight “rainbow families” living in Poland.
The campaign’s first video features same-sex couple Milena and Ola along with their young boys Tadzik and Edzio who all live in Poland.
The couple first met “13 or 14 years ago” at a music festival, and their relationship blossomed from there.
Milena’s parents “went into shock” when she first told them about her relationship with Ola, who is a community policewoman. She had been “with a man for a dozen years and quite a few years married”, and they “had two children together”.
“They [her parents] thought it would be pretty classic: husband, wife and two kids,” Milena recalled. “Life can be surprising.”
Ola’s parents had a similar reaction, but the couple gave them time to adjust. After a few days of silence, Ola’s father called while planning a trip to the shop. “How many eggs do you want?” he asked. It was “like nothing had happened”.
Today, the couple live happily with their two children and recently had their “best mother’s day ever”.
Milena described how the “boys have this incredible bond with Ola” and that their son Edzio proudly says “that he has two moms”.
Coming out as a family, not just as individuals, was a “tough decision” for the couple – but ultimately it was “cathartic and liberating”.
“You just go and say: ‘This is my girlfriend and we have kids,’” Milena said. “You confront others with it.”
She continued: “You’re in-your-face about it. ‘Well that’s who I am. And if you don’t accept it, just leave us. Go away.’”
“It’s just sincerity with yourselves, your kids and this relationship… why should you be ashamed of love?”
The NGO behind the video, Miłość Nie Wyklucza, stressed that rainbow families “want safety and a peaceful future” like everyone else. The group called upon people to “help us build a better Poland for all”.
Poland on collision course with EU over LGBT-free zones
Poland has collided with European Union (EU) leaders over its of the LGBT+ community.
Numerous municipal and local governments in the country declared regions free from “LGBT ideology” in 2019.
Though the declarations are largely symbolic, human rights groups have warned that they could be fuelling violence against queer folk.
After years of criticism from world leaders, human rights groups and the global LGBT+ community, in July the European Commission finally announced it would launch action against Poland or “violations of fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people”.