Monday, 4 April 2011

Poland: One Lubią Wesoły Rzeczywiście

The Guardian is running a series New Europe, where each week they take an indepth look at a different country.
Today they've started on Poland.
There's a recurring mini-feature in these things, Debunking Stereotypes.
You know the sort of thing; the French are rude, Spaniards have big families, Germans make everything run on time...
It's telling that the stereotype for Poland is 'Poles Are Homophobic'.
I wonder if they're aware this is how others see them, that it's come to be seen as a defining characteristic?
It's a myth The Guardian doesn't do a very good job of debunking.
The subheadline reads; "Hatred of homosexuality has been rife in Poland, but may be on the wane"
Sounds hopeful.
Fagburn has been to Poland several times and yes; "Some of my best friends are Polish..."
Gay life over there only really exists in the big cities, mainly Warsaw, and even there it's pretty clandestine - but people are increasingly out to their friends, families, neighbours and workmates.
There's a virulently homophobic press, insanely bigoted outbursts from several politicians, attempts to ban Pride marches, and raids on gay venues.
So I guess being gay in Poland today isn't that different to what it was like in Britain in the 1980s.

Update: "Polish migration to the west began to teach a society utterly lacking in diversity that not everyone in the world is white and speaks Polish, and of course that not everyone is heterosexual. It was a long time before a gay person could appear in a Polish television serial and not be killed in a road accident in the first episode. Artists did a fast-track job of conveying this diversity to Polish society at large, and such matters are now in the cultural mainstream..." Dorota Maslowska, CIF, The Guardian, Tuesday.

1 comment:

  1. In Great Britain WWII ended in 1945, in Poland in 1991. Poland had twenty years to actually even acknowledge that there is such a thing as 'gay'. They're doing pretty well.