Activists in Poland say so-called LGBT-free zones across the predominantly Catholic country point to efforts by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party to stoke anti-LGBT sentiment ahead of a parliamentary election this fall.
Local media reports suggest that across Poland, more than two dozen cities and towns — some led by PiS members — have declared their regions LGBT-free zones in recent months. The majority are situated in the historically conservative southeastern part of the country.
While the declarations are not enforceable, activists say they signal a targeted effort to exclude LGBT residents.
“It’s a statement saying that a specific kind of people is not welcome there,” said Ola Kaczorek, co-president of the Warsaw-based Love Does Not Exclude Association.
The number of supposedly LGBT-free regions has grown since Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski signed a declaration in February supporting sexual and gender diverse communities in that city, Kaczorek said.