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- I can agree that LGBT+ people exist. They do. There is an LGBT+ community- the Children’s Ombudsman asserted during an interview with Konrad Piasecki on Tuesday. – It’s the truth and I’m not denying that- he added.

His statement was a direct reference to comments of government officials regarding people identifying as sexual minorities. The School Superintendent for the region of Małopolska in southern Poland, Barbara Nowak, who once claimed that the LGBT+ community “is propagating paedophilia”, in a recent interview with the catholic-conservative Radio Maryja said this: the LGBT+ community has one goal: it wants to destroy the world as we know it, the world we are used to. Then, on its ruins, they want to build some kind of a neo-barbarian world.

A week earlier, Nowak appeared in a program aired on TV Trwam (owned by the same religious organization as Radio Maryja) together with the School Superintendent for the Łódź region, Grzegorz Wierzchowski, who compared sexual minorities to a virus. Although Wierzchowski lost his job, officials such as governor Tobiasz Bocheński and representatives of the Ministry of Education assured the public that the decision had nothing to do with his homophobic comments.

Mikołaj Pawlak: It’s incompatible with what Poland stands for

According to the Children’s Commissioner, the comments were inappropriate and “disrespectful”. – At the same time, the way in which a certain idea is being spread, an idea that is essentially incompatible with a traditionally understood Polish patriotism, is something to worry about – he emphasized. Pawlak also pointed out that one should make a distinction between people who consider themselves sexual minorities and a LGBT+ “idea” or an “ideology”. – And it is the idea that keeps spreading- he continued.

-And this idea that you keep talking about, rather vaguely, I need to add, is it really incompatible with Polish patriotism? – the TV host inquired.

-When the idea is represented by such people as, for example, Mr. Michał Sz. or Margot, if you like… - Pawlak attempted to dodge the question.

He then continued talking about „a way of expressing patriotism, specifically on a day preceding one the most important days for Poles, September 1, by showing a middle finger or insulting Poland”. – That’s simply incompatible with what Poland stands for- he asserted.

Polish bishops take a stance on the „LGBT+ issue”  

In early August, following the prosecutor’s office request and a court decision, an activist from the Stop Bullshit collective, Margot, was arrested and jailed for two months. Together with several other people, she was accused of damaging a van that belongs to a pro-life organization. The driver claimed to have suffered an arm and back injury. Vans like these, spreading counterfactual homophobic propaganda, are an increasingly frequent sight on the streets of ever more Polish cities. Many people, including prominent scientists and social activists, stood up to defend Margot and called on the authorities to release her. On Friday, the activist has been released and posted a picture of herself showing a middle finger and a caption which read: “Poland, you d**k, stop arresting Margot”.

On the same day, Polish bishops convened in one of the country’s most important places of pilgrimage, Jasna Góra, to discuss the “LGBT+ issue”. In their joint statement, they declare that the “obligation to show respect to people associated with the LGBT+ movement does not mean an indiscriminate acceptance of the worldview they represent”.  

“Quite the opposite”- they claim. –The ideology adopted by these movements and what they stand for is by design flawed with multiple, socially dangerous concepts. For example, their accusations of a lack of tolerance is oftentimes but a cover for an ideology that undermines the natural differences between and complementary nature of a man and a woman”.

Pawlak: Educators provide children with gender transition medication

Speaking much in the same vein as Mikołaj Pawlak, at a last year’s conference organized by the Catholic Action of the Diocese of Wrocław, the leader of the Law and Justice party, Jarosław Kaczyński, asserted that the “LGBT+ movement” is “a threat to our identity”, “our nation” and “the Polish state”. Pawlak himself, commenting on last year’s “Rainbow Friday”, wrote that “schools must be free from the ideology pretending to be about tolerance”.

On Tuesday, the Ombudsman also expressed his opinion about sex education teachers who, according to his own words, “are raising emotionally unstable and neglected children” and “are providing them with some kind of gender transition medication”. – Without the knowledge or approval of their parents and medical professionals. – he emphasized. Supposedly, a similar situation to the one he described had taken place in Poznań. Yet, he failed to provide any details. 

We followed up on the Poznań incident and asked his office to provide us with more information. We wanted to find out what exactly the Commissioner meant by that, whether similar incidents have ever taken place in other cities, where did he get his information from, and whether any measures were taken to react to these incidents. We’re still waiting for an answer.

Katarzyna Banasiak, a coordinator of the “Ponton Group” bringing together sex education teachers, finds it difficult to hide her astonishment. –We’re living in times when a person tasked with protecting children’s rights is saying things that are outright absurd and has absolutely no knowledge about sexuality. First of all, educators don’t have the power to “change” anyone’s sex; it cannot be changed, it might be corrected, eventually. Still, there isn’t a single educator who conducts pharmacotherapy at school. Should anyone decide to go through it, the process would be carefully monitored by medical specialists, and in the case of underage persons, it would require the permission of a legal guardian. But ultraconservative circles often bring up narratives which can hardly be verified- she tells us.

She further explains: -Mentioning the topic of transgenderism isn’t easy during regular workshops. It requires us to additionally educate people about basic biology: about the process of fertilization, the menstrual cycle, STD’s. It happens that someone asks us whether it is possible to get pregnant by grinding or by using the same bathroom as others, public or private. Sometimes 17-18 year olds don’t know anything about how their body even functions.

On the other hand, Pawlak doesn’t see any harm in children returning to school during the pandemic: -  Children know how to behave. They’ll wear masks and I’m sure they’ll keep social distance. And where necessary, carpenters will just have to cut some desks in half – like in Italy – We should do it in our schools, too. If it’s necessary to do it now, carpenters will have plenty of work on their hands.

Unofficially: opposition wants to remove the Children’s Commissioner from office

Pawlak’s homophobic and counterfactual statements met with a critical response from many opposition politicians. In a breaking news report published earlier this afternoon, the portal Onet.pl wrote about the opposition’s plans to issue a motion calling for the removal of the Children’s Commissioner from office. Citing three different sources, Onet reports that the opposition will announce its plans during a press conference later this evening.

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