Kelly Sans Culotte

Gay Mundo

New Anti-Gay Regime in Poland
Catholic ultra-conservatives bash their way to victory.
By Tomek Kitlinski and Pawel Leszkowicz

Double trouble for queers.

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WARSAW, NOV. 10, 2005. Poland has hit the homophobic jackpot: the new President, the new Prime Minister and the boss of the conservative Catholic party which now controls a big chunk of Parliament, are all virulent, card-carrying queer-haters. And for the first time in Polish history, the "gay question" was a centerpiece of an electoral campaign.

Right-wing candidates, pandering to a traditionally homophobic electorate, openly used insulting terms such as "pederasta" and "pedal." These words, which not too long ago would have been deemed unsuitable to utter in polite company, are now heard in parliamentary debates and even on television.

During the electoral campaign, and in the months leading up to it, lesbians and gay men were often depicted in the Polish media as abnormal, asocial and abject. They were accused of being a cultural and even biological threat to the Polish nation, lowering the birth-rate, and imperiling what ultra-conservatives lovingly call "natural law marriage and family."

Poland's Catholic fundamentalist Radio Maryja dubbed recent developments in Spain and Poland "homosexual terror" "sodomitical unions" and "totalitarianism of sin." The Radio station, which also has an anti-Semitic bent, has an audience of three million. It supported the Kaczynski brothers' party, Law and Justice, in the recent electoral campaign.

Homophobia works. On October 23, Lech Kaczynski captured the presidency in the second round of an election marked by massive abstention (49 percent of voters stayed home). A month earlier, the Kaczynskis' Law and Justice party, with 27 percent of the votes, managed to secure the biggest single bloc of seats in parliament (155 out of a total of 460 seats).

A Family Affair
The new President and the new governing party boss are as close politically, ideologically, and genetically, as anyone can get: they are identical twins (the French daily Le Figaro recently called Poland the first monozygotic republic). They are also both former, and famous, child actors. There seems to be only one difference between them: Lech Kaczynski, the President, is married, with one child; at 56, brother Jaroslaw, the Law and Justice party boss, has never married and lives with their mother. The word in the gay street here is that Jaroslaw Kaczynski is a closet case whose homophobia is fueled by fear.

The Kaczynski twins gay-hating credentials are impressive. As mayor of Warsaw, now President Lech banned the gay pride parade in 2004 and 2005, while this year allowing a homophobic, far-right counter-demostration, the "Parade of Normality." Not to be surpassed by his twin brother, Party boss and presumed closet case Jaroslaw recently announced that "homosexuals should not be allowed to teach." Earlier he had told the weekly Ozon: "The affirmation of homosexuality will lead to the downfall of civilization. We can't agree to it."

The twins have quickly installed a faithful crony, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, as their Prime Minister. He is the guy who recently told Newsweek (Polish edition) that homosexuality is "unnatural" and also threatened lesbians and gay men with "state intervention" if they tried to "infect others with their homosexuality." It was a "violation of freedom" to "infect" others with homosexuality, he explained, adding, "The family is natural, and the state must stand guard over the family."

Homophobia is just one of the reasons Poland ended up in the Kaczynskis' lap.

Fear and Loathing
With an 18 percent unemployment rate, the highest in the European Union, crumbling health and education systems, wide