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Parents, dare to speak out

Parents, dare to speak out

2013-02-28

Starting in March, Polish parents will dare to speak out! – Launching of the brand new social awareness campaign targeted at parents of LGB persons.

From Friday, March 1st, “Parents, dare to speak out!” campaign is launched. The main characters of the campaign are the parents of homosexual and bisexual persons. One of the faces of the campaign is a famous Polish actor, Władysław Kowalski, and his son, Kuba. The organiser of the event is Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH).

The social campaign is a result of KPH’s long-term project “Academy of Engaged Parents” during which parents from different regions of Poland come together to talk about their experiences with having LGB children who have to deal with homophobia on daily basis. In 2011 the brochure "We, the parents” was published, and in 2012 the first edition of the Academy ofEngaged Parents was organised (thanks to Rosa Luxemburg Foundation).In collaboration with the Embassy of the United States, KPH managed to invite Judy and Dennis Shepard and Jody Huckaby, prominent LGB parents movement activist in the United States.The initiators of the Academy were KatarzynaRemin and Greg Czarnecki, whose idea was to involve Polish parents in the LGB activism. “Usually homo- and bisexual persons’ situation is presented without any family context. This is an oversimplification that leads to hardening of stereotypes.Engaging parents in the process may encourage other parents to accept their LGB children. The Academy started in Spring 2012, and now it gathers more and more parents who are not afraid to speak out loud and proud about their LGB children.” – says KatarzynaRemin, coordinator of the campaign and KPH’s activist.

On the “Parents, dare to speak out!”campaign posters we can see faces of three families – mother, father or both parents with their adult children, together with three slogans:

- “My daughter has taught me how to be brave. Elżbieta, mother of a lesbian”

- “My son has taught me how important it is to be yourself. Władysław, father of a gay”

- “My daughter has taught us how to speak openly. Aneta and Rafał, parents of a lesbian”

Posters will be displayed for a month in five Polish cities: Warsaw, Kraków, Poznań, Wrocław and the Upper Silesian Industrial Region, in a total of 140 locations.

For the purpose of the action a webpage was created (www.OdwazcieSieMowic.pl), in which one can find some basic knowledge on homosexuality, answers to many questions that parents of gay, lesbian and bisexual persons are concerned with, as well as a short film featuring parents. There will also be an opportunity to establish contact with another parents via the website. A complement of the social campaign will be another series of the Academy of Engaged Parentswith workshops organized by KPH. “Research conducted by KPH shows that over 41% of LGB people hide their sexual orientation from their closest family members. Parents who don’t know, and in many cases don’t want to know about it, are only partially involved in the lives of their children. The area of their exclusion grows over time, weakening the family bonds. The faces of our campaign stand together with their children and are proud of them. They respect their children’s identity, they speak openly about their children’s homosexual orientation, as one of the manifestations of reality” – says Remin.

Mothers who have decided to take part in the poster campaign are ElżbietaBajan and AnetaOstrowska, who met in the KPH’sAcademy of Engaged Parents. They both are now establishing a new organization: AKCEPTACJA Association for Parents and Friends of Homosexual, Bisexual and Transgender Persons – the first organization of this type in Poland.

The social campaign "Parents, dare to speak out!" was carried out by the Campaign Against Homophobia with the financial help of the Open Society Institute. LOWE GGK agency was a project partner, who prepared the creative concept and watched over the production. KubaDąbrowski is the author of the photographs used for posters and Anna Grzelewska is the author of the film.

Patrons of the “Parents, dare to speak out!” campaign include: Wanda Nowicka – Vice-Marshall of the Parliament, AgnieszkaKozłowska-Rajewicz – Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment and Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz – Mayor of Warsaw.

[kph]