A gay couple from Poland has expanded their LGBTQ advocacy outreach by journeying to Rome to implore Pope Francis’s help in response to the increasing suppression of LGBTQ rights in Poland.
According to Out magazine, Jakub Kwiecinski and Dawid Mycek traveled to the Vatican to petition Pope Francis to address the growing attacks on the Polish LGBTQ community coming from Poland’s ultranationalist government and fueled by local Catholic leaders, bishops, clergy, and laity alike.
Kwiecinski and Mycek positioned themselves in St. Peter’s Square, facing the pope’s apartment window from which he delivers the Angelus message every Sunday, and raised a large rainbow flag that read “HELP” across it.
The gay couple has spent the past year spreading their message of love and inclusion as human rights attacks on the Polish LGBTQ community have intensified. Combining their advocacy efforts with the coronavirus pandemic, Kwiecinski and Mycek fabricated rainbow face masks and distributed them for free in their hometown of Gdansk in April 2020.
Bondings 2.0 has previously reported on the Polish government’s targeted political campaign against its LGBTQ population. These calculated efforts continue to gain traction, galvanized by the institutional church as well as by Polish society, a majority of which identifies as Catholic.
During a homily last year, Krakow’s Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski stated that “Poland was under siege from a ‘rainbow plague’ of gay rights campaigners.” In a pastoral letter, the archbishop equated Polish LGBTQ activists with the oppressive totalitarian regime that ruled Poland in the late 20th century.
Approximately one-third of Poland’s cities have now enacted legislation that mirrors Russia’s anti-LGBTQ discriminatory laws. In effect, the resolutions penalize individuals for expressing their LGBTQ identity in public spaces. These Polish cities have declared themselves to be “LGBT-free” zones, which “directly contradict the mission of freedom of expression exhibited by the European Commission, an executive branch of the European Union,” the Out article reported
In response, the European Commission has rescinded funding from six of these so-called “LGBT-free” cities because they passed legislation that contravenes the human rights principles of the European Union.
Kwiecinski and Mycek commented on these troubling developments, underscoring how the Polish bishops have manipulated the coronavirus as a vehicle to scapegoat the LGBTQ community:
“‘The Polish bishops call us pedophiles, they say that we are a disease and even that the COVID-19 is a global punishment for LGBT+ sins.”
Novena News asked Kwiecinski and Mycek why they petitioned Pope Francis for his leadership and guidance:
“We decided to go and draw [the Pope’s] attention to the fact that the Polish bishops are fueling hatred towards us and we really hope that he will take action.”
These bishops reinvigorated their hostile attitudes against the LGBTQ community in a recent publication issued on August 28, 2020. While the bishops affirmed the dignity of LGBTQ persons in their new document, they emphasized that respecting their dignity does not equate to “[accepting] their views uncritically,” or embracing their “gender ideology” as reported by Novena News. The bishops went on to say:
“[T]he Church is not afraid, on the one hand, to proclaim the duty to respect the personal dignity of every human being, including LGBT+ people, and, on the other hand, for the same reasons, she must speak with reserve and, in particular cases, with clear opposition to gender ideologies and forms of activity of LGBT+ movements that ignore this truth about man and to their social projects and objectives.”
Tragically, the Polish bishops’ publication also characterized LGBTQ identity as contrary to nature, unhealthy, and something that required “counseling” which they said was designed “to help people wishing to regain their sexual health and natural sexual orientation.”
These Polish bishops denigrate the sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression of LGBTQ persons by linking them to the false and empty concept “gender ideology.” Such thinking perpetuates the harmful myth that LGBTQ persons do not have a coherent, holistic sense of self that is unequivocally supported by contemporary social science research.
LGBTQ identity not an “ideology” that can be refuted or rejected. Rather, LGBTQ identity and the LGBTQ community are an integral part of God’s beautiful creation. Classifying a segment of God’s population as an “idea” further marginalizes an already vulnerable community, subjecting them further to prejudice, harassment, and discrimination.
Yet beyond these homophobic and transphobic views, we see something powerful occurring: the advocacy of a local gay couple, peacefully asking Pope Francis for his intervention and guidance. Pope Francis should listen to the concerns of Kwiecinski and Mycek, and directly address the growing human rights violations against the Polish LGBTQ community.
–Brian William Kaufman, New Ways Ministry, September 30, 2020