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Find out what it´s like to be LGBT in Poland

The age of consent for gays, lesbians and heterosexuals in Poland is 15 and was introduced in 1932. The Polish Constitution prohibits discrimination on all grounds. It states, however, that marriage is restricted to a man and a woman only. Poland joined the European Union on the 1st of May 2004 and was obliged to adopt anti-discrimination provisions laid down by EU directives. From January 2008 Poland is part of the Schengen Zone.

Twin brothers Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski were President and Prime Minister, respectively, of Poland from 2005-2007. Lech remains the President while Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski was finally voted out of office in 2007 and the new government is now formed by Donald Tusk´s Civic Platform. The extremist Kaczynski twins had blocked the EU Human Rights Charter set to become binding in 2009. Their objections most of all focused on Article 21 prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Donald Tusk has lifted this blockade. Polands bishops, however, still continue to publicly oppose the Charter. In the opinion of Polish LGBT activists, little progress is to be expected in the very near future since the current government is socially conservative but tries not to expose their homophobic views too much in an effort to simply avoid the issue of LGBT rights. But at least a planned ban on "homosexual propaganda" in Polish schools has been abolished. Ýet even under the new government, same-sex couples are nowhere near achieving registered partnership status.

In recent years, the Gay Pride Parades have either repeatedly been prohibited or were confronted with hostile counter-demonstrators if they did go ahead. The era of prohibitions at least is now over.

There are three Pride Festivals (with Pride Marches) in Poland: in April in Krakow (Culture for Tolerance Festival, in June in Warsaw (Equality Days and in November in Poznan (Equality and Tolerance Days

Every year more and more clubs, discos and saunas appear on the scene, making Poland a destination for gay and lesbian visitors. The gay scene is mainly located Warsaw, although some other large cities like Krakow, Lodz, Poznan, Wroclaw and Gdansk have an emerging gay scene.

Find out more: Situation of bisexual and homosexual persons in Poland 2005 and 2006 report - PDF file: 751 KB
Ed. Marta Abramowicz. Financed by ILGA-Europe and NEWW