Saturday, April 26, 2008

Krakow tolerance march passes off peacefully


Observers reckon a few hundred gays and lesbians [and friends - see comment] took part in the annual Tolerance March in the conservative southern city of Krakow, today.

The demonstration last year ended with 13 arrests and plenty of argy-bargy from the usual suspects in All-Polish Youth and other groups that attract people fond of very short hair cuts.

John Beauchamp, who provides these photos (see more on his flickr page) told me that he thought that there were more reactionaries in the market square in the centre of town than there were gays and lesbians.

And almost outnumbering both groups were the police, assisted by dogs (who were on their own tolerance march in celebration of their usual doggedly polymorphous sexual desires).


Though the whole thing passed off without any violence, the atmosphere has been a little tense for a few days now in Krakow - with posters put up by arch-conservatives warning the people of Krakow that if gays and lesbians are continually allowed to march and protest then ‘gay marriages’ will surly follow, and Sodom and Gomorrah will stalk the land having their wicked, wicked way with Poland.

But you get the sense that the issue of homosexuality hit a peak a year or two ago. As a rallying point for the increasingly marginalised catholic-nationalists - who, lest we forget, were in government only half a year ago here in Poland - the bogey men and women of the gay and lesbian community are losing (quite literally in some cases) their allure.

26 comments:

Adam said...

It's important to recognize that it was not just 'gays and lesbiens' (sic) participating in the Tolerance March today. The very point was to march for openness towards all forms of sexual and gender expression in Kraków, and as last year, there were plenty of participants who didn't forefront their sexual orientation. They were there in a show of peace and celebration - i.e. many participants were not gay but were there in support of the cause. To limit a description of the Tolerance March as comprised solely of gays and lesbians is misleading, contributes to the same kind of misinformation that opponents of the Tolerance March use, and ultimately lends towards marginalizing the significance of and support for the event and its importance in Kraków's social and cultural fabric. I would suggest 'hundreds of members of the gay and gay-friendly community,' or something more all-encompasisng of that sort, to be used in the future.

beatroot said...

And I don;t use the word 'community' as gay people are members of general actual çommunities anyway. But does that really matter?

But you are missing a point, I think. There have been street gatherings in Poland for quite some time. No trouble. It was only just after the point when Poland joined the EU that nationalists picked up this issue in an attempt to point to 'alien' types of behaviour entering the country (from the west). And it woeked. It made sexuality an issue in Poland.

That political wave has just about crashed onto the bank and they are finding it harder and harder to keep any sort of voting bloc etc together.

That is why I pointed to a peak in nationalist politics, which seems to be fading.

Jacek Wesołowski said...

Homosexuality has always been an issue in Poland. When you make a stranger very angry, first thing you learn about yourself is that you're a Jew, and the next is that you're gay. This has been so for as long as I can remember, that is - since the 80s. The difference is that antisemitism is becoming more and more marginal, while homophobia is a socially accepted notion. To many men it comes just as naturally as watching porn.

But yes, there were more reasons for demonstrating in 2006 and 2007, when nationalists were in the goverment. Tensions are falling now, because Civic Platform tries to pose as "tradition with a human face". They follow the mild variety of homophobia: "gays are icky, and lesbians just need to get laid for once, but that's no excuse for mobbing".

beatroot said...

Civic Platform tries to pose as "tradition with a human face". They follow the mild variety of homophobia: "gays are icky, and lesbians just need to get laid for once, but that's no excuse for mobbing".

Yeah, it is really bigotary with a human face, as they try and walk that fine line.

But there is one thing having prejudices and another being political about them. That was what changed in POland. And I think these people are on the backfoot now.

opamp said...

The very point was to march for openness towards all forms of sexual and gender expression in Kraków,

I fail to understand why gender and sexuality need to be expressed in public. For me this is nothing more, than an attempt at equating these with political views. Which, in turns, smells like some people riding to power on the very issue.

To limit a description of the Tolerance March as comprised solely of gays and lesbians is misleading,

Why, then, are the organizers only concerned with gays and lesbians, and not the people involved in BDSM activities? Especially since the legal situation of the latter can be much more complicated.

significance of and support for the event and its importance in Kraków's social and cultural fabric.

Yeah, we don't have decent opera house, but at least we have a gay march!

beatroot said...

Opamp
I agree that making your sexual identity the one that defines you as a person is rather sad. But imagine every time you kissed your girlfriend/wife in public and everyone just stared at you as if you were a circus freak.

I hope, in those circumstances you would march down the street kissing your wife and telling the authorities and bigots to go screw themselves.

Jacek Wesołowski said...

This is exactly what makes my angry, personally. First, the society keeps pushing homosexuals into margins for centuries, persecuting them, sometimes putting them into jails and such, and then, when homosexuals try to do something about it, you know, like, talk about it, everybody goes like "ZOMG they're making it public, oh the horror, WTFLOL!". I see it as a symptom of homophobes' lack of an rationale whatsoever, that one of their biggest objections against homosexuals is that their demonstrations are noisy and flashy ("They're listening to techno and holding pink baloons! The horror!").

Brad Zimmerman said...

opamp: it needs to be expressed in public because that's often where homosexuals get the crap kicked out of them. Marches like the one that just occurred are hoped to show that one, yes, there are homosexual people in town and two that they are hoping for some tolerance.

While BSDM isn't supported and I don't see that really happening for various reason, I suppose we could expect to see trans-gender and other "misc." show up in future marches. Future marches will occur as long as homosexual people continue to be attacked or marginalized. I think that means they will probably go on for a very long time.

opamp said...

While BSDM isn't supported and I don't see that really happening for various reason,

Such as?

They are a sexual minority as well. And contrary to gays, they may face criminal charges for their activities. So, in my book, they would be more discriminated than gays, since in Poland homosexuality has been decriminalized in 1930s.

Given the above statement of openness towards all forms of sexual and gender expression in Kraków, excluding the BDSM community is, in itself, discriminatory.

Future marches will occur as long as homosexual people continue to be attacked or marginalized.

In the UK numerous people in the governmental positions are openly gay (see, for example, http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-6416.html), so I would hardly call them marginalized. Yet, the parades are still being held there. What is the reason for them, then?

It's an ordinary political demonstration, no different that the Orange Walk.

Brad Zimmerman said...

Go on, be openly homosexual in rural England or Scotland. The beating you would receive might take a bit longer to come around than if you were openly homosexual in rural (especially the rural south) US but in Poland it would happen faster than you could say Liberace.

That's why homosexual people march and why they need police protection. For whatever reason, people really dislike knowing that some people like to have sex with other people of the same gender.

As for the BDSM comments: I don't see the gay/lesbian/trans-gender people getting fired up about it because it's not quite the same thing. If BDSM people are being discriminated against then, what the hell, lets have a march for them, too. I'm all for tolerating whatever you feel like doing at home as long as it isn't playing bad* euro dance/house music at 140 db at any time of the day or night.

* redundant.

opamp said...

Go on, be openly homosexual in rural England or Scotland. The beating you would receive might take a bit longer to come around than if you were openly homosexual in rural (especially the rural south) US but in Poland it would happen faster than you could say Liberace.

It's really refreshing to see someone here acknowledging that
homosexual intolerance exists outside Poland.

My hat off for you, sir.

beatroot said...

Thing is, Opamp, that the rural england accounts for one percent of the total population. Get what I am saying? It's a development thing.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time - not that long ago really - say 20 years ago? being a working gay or a lesbian in most quarters in the UK was a sackable offence.

I remember as a Police Officer years ago how we used to treat people who were gay/lesbian - they were sacked for their sexual orientation with no rights as to their ability to do the job - it didn't come into the equation

It should have

Thank goodness we see people as human beings now!

In the UK it's really OK now - several people I work with are either gay/lesbian - but they are just as capable at doing their job than me.

No-one bats an eyelid anymore in the UK - it's really not an issue to us!

And am happy with it:-)

Is

beatroot said...

There was a British women over here the other week, talking about the UK as if there was a new rise - even a peak of homophobia sweeping the UK. She was about forty years old, so she should have know better.

Twenty years ago I remember watching policemen raid the Vauxhall Tavern near the Oval cricket ground in London. They were wearing white gloves. This was the time of the AIDS panic in Britain, and Maggie Thatcher was calling for a return to Victorian values. Her government passed Çlause 28 of the local authority law that forbid teachers, local government officials etc from promoting homosexuality! Etc.

But that was not the start of state sponsored anti-gay..ism…it was the end of it.

So rapid progress in this area is possible for Poland and the women I met from Britain is living in another country if she thinks that homophobia is about to reappear as it was in the bad old days.

Leopolis said...

And what about those yellow posters slapped on the boards in the middle of Warsaw? It cost somebody thousands of złoty to post these... but who paid for them? Without a doubt Lepper and the Ducks.

What a waste of money for cheap bigotry. And the propaganda wasn't even that caustic.

Anonymous said...

Beatroot the arrogant british expat, once again is trying to spread his politically correct poison in our country.

It was like this when he defended the RACIST Simon Mol, a social parasite who infected girls with HIV on purpose, while living at the expense of polish tax payers.

But even now that he can't deceive us anymore about the innocence of the antifascist of the year, Beatrrot continues to insult millions of poles.

Listen :

It took some time to gather information about you.
We know already who you are , where you live and work.
Very soon we will talk face to face.

It will be interesting to see if you will repeat the insults who made in this blog against those you don't agree with.

Just wait...

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