1. Not the easiest place to live
On May 17, 2009 Poland's second largest city, Krakow, celebrated Gay Pride with Marsz Tolerancji, The March of Tolerance. Though acceptance of gay rights has grown in much of Western Europe, the struggle for equal rights in Poland--a country that still lacks its own civil partnership system--has lagged while considerable opposition to homosexuality among both the government and the public continues to makes life difficult for LGBT persons. When the Gay Pride Parades of both Warsaw and Krakow were banned in 2004 and 2005, LGBT people around the world took notice.
In 2006, the US gay-oriented publication Southern Voice printed an article titled, "World's worst places to live if you're gay," which included a top ten list placing Poland at number 8. On a list otherwise dominated by countries such as Uganda, Iran, and Egypt, where homosexual practices are punishable by law, Poland stood out as the only European country.
Daniela Sea, also known as Max on The L Word has spoken with Tokyo Wrestling in the past about the threat to gay rights in Poland, citing problems such as the mayor of Warsaw's outright refusal to issue a permit for Gay Pride and overt violent aggression. Taking part in a Gay Pride march in Poland is certainly not an easy task, especially in comparison to other more gay-friendly countries.
Shortly after Marsz Tolerancji, one of our TW readers living in Krakow sent in her own photo report of the event. As you will see, the march required a tremendous amount of courage, with somewhere around 200 to 300 far right anti-gay extremists present. Let's give a shout out to our brave sisters and brothers in Poland!
★The official site for the Krakow Gay Parade: www.queerowymaj.pl/
Hello, TW readers!
I'm here with a photo report on Krakow's Marsz Tolerancji, held on May 17, 2009! The name of the parade translates into "March for Tolerance" in English. The parade was first held in 2004 and has been held every year with only the exception of 2005, when it was canceled in order to allow for a national day of mourning after the death of Polish-born Pope John Paul II.
This year's course was longer than the last; the march began at Plac Wolnica, leaving at 2pm, and continued for approximately 3 kilometers--or roughly ninety minutes--down a major thoroughfare.
The estimated number of participating marchers has not been released, but anywhere between 700 and 1000 are said to have been there. Non-Poles were present along with Polish citizens. Just as in many other cities around the world, participants held up rainbow flags and banners and messages as they walked. After arriving at their destination point, they released balloons into the air to officially close the event.
※The starting point for the march, Plac Wolnica, located in Warsaw's
old Jewish quarter of Kazimierz. Many of the signs included messages
urging for the recognition of civil partnership rights.
※A long line of guards at Plac Wolnica protecting marchers from attacks.
※LGBT marchers with rainbow flags walking down one of Warsaw's
most famous streets, ul.Grodzka, which leads to Wawel Royal Castle.
※The parade continues down the street towards Wawel Royal Castle, visible to the left. The sign says, "I love gays."
※Street performers wave as the crowds pass along Rynek Główny,
or Kraków Market Square, an area oft-visited by tourists.
※St. Mary's Basilica (Kościół Mariacki), a popular tourist spot located
by the Main Market Square, was the destination point for the march and the
locations selected for the release of hundreds of colorful balloons.
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Translated by J and R