The US embassy in Warsaw has published a video pushing back against anti-LGBT messages posted on its social accounts.
The clip, titled #WordsMatter, shows members of the Polish LGBT community reading hateful comments left on posts about equality.
The video comes at the end of pride month against a backdrop of rising discrimination in the country.
Poland’s right-wing president Andrzej Duda ran for election last year on a platform condemning LGBT “ideology”.
A swathe of towns and regions across the country have passed resolutions declaring themselves “LGBT-free zones” in recent years.
While the resolutions are largely symbolic – they reflect deepening hostility faced by LGBT people nationally and have sparked international condemnation.
In the three-minute video posted on Wednesday, US Charge d’Affaires Bix Aliu says the US embassy aimed to highlight the hurtful impact of negative comments left under their posts in support of LGBT equality.
“Imagine someone says these words about you, your brother or sister, or your child. How would that make you feel?” he asks in Polish, before several people are seen reading out hateful messages.
In them commenters accuse the LGBT community of being “brainwashed”, among other explicit statements.
“It’s time to end the hate – we all deserve respect and humane treatment,” Mr Aliu added in a tweet about the video.
The initiative was supported by Stonewall in Poland, who campaign for equal rights.
Driving a slow change in attitudes
By Adam Easton in Warsaw
It’s not the first time the US embassy has got involved in LGBTQI issues in Poland and several embassies sent representatives to this month’s Equality Parade in Warsaw in a show of support.
The video will likely cheer those in Poland who increasingly feel unwelcome in their own country. It may also annoy those politicians from the governing camp – such as the education minister Przemyslaw Czarnek who recently questioned whether the people who participated in that parade were “normal” – whose comments are making people feel unwelcome.
On social media, some Poles asked why the US felt it should interfere in such matters. The video is one of a series of events that is helping to slowly change attitudes towards LGBTQI people in Poland. In 2005, Warsaw’s mayor banned the city’s pride march. Now, more and more are held every year and they are mostly joyous and peaceful events.
Earlier this year the European Union passed a resolution declaring itself an “LGBTIQ freedom zone” in response to rising discrimination in Poland.
Same-sex relationships are not legally recognised in Poland and earlier this year government officials announced changes to clamp down on gay people adopting as single parents.
Reports by the Reuters news agency on Tuesday, citing anonymous sources, suggest the European Commission may be considering taking legal action against Poland over the “LGBT ideology-free zones”.
Source : BBC