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What happened last year in Poland?

Last year, events in Poland seemed to be coming to a head. Only a year earlier – in 2019 – the first municipality in Poland had declared itself an “LGBT-free zone”. Then in July 2020, Andrzej Duda, who openly spreads his hatred towards queer people and promised to abolish the remaining rights for the LGBTIQ* community, won the presidential election. What followed was a month of queer protests in Warsaw, dubbed the Polish Stonewall (in reference to the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York). During these protests, queer people and activists were arrested in Warsaw. The most famous is probably the case of Margot. Margot is a non-binary LGBTIQ* activist, whose pronouns are “they/them.” They were accused of damaging the vehicle of a Catholic fundamentalist association. This vehicle was one of the many homophobic vans driving through Poland, blaring slogans against abortion, “LGBT ideology” and “the sexualization of their children by queer people” through speakers. After two months, Margot was released from custody. Meanwhile, activists for women’s rights and LGBTIQ* rights are fighting side by side against the conservative government. Because the governments approach no longer indicates full democracy. The violations against abortion laws and LGBTIQ* rights are becoming increasingly difficult to align with the values of the European Union and human rights.