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Warsaw, Sunday. Protesters waving rainbow flags and EU flags in front of the Ministry of Education. Some of them hold up protest signs: „Education, not indoctrination”, „I’d rather have a Marxist sister, than a chauvinist minister”, “Education beyond political divisions”. There is also a rainbow-colored banner with the slogan: “Ministry of National Homophobia and Transphobia”. Most of the picketers are young people. They came here to express their disapproval of the ruling camp’s decision to appoint a person known for his homophobic and radically conservative comments as the new Minister of Education.

Names of LGBT teenagers bullied into suicide

Protest speakers listed the names of teenagers who committed suicide after being subjected to harassment and discrimination because of their sexual identity. Hubert Sobecki, co-chair of the “Love Does Not Exclude Association” (Miłość Nie Wyklucza), gave an emotional account of Milo who took her life by jumping from the Poniatowski bridge in Warsaw. –On my way here, I passed through the bridge.  Many people lit memory candles in remembrance of Milo’s death and put them there. Someone destroyed these candles and the police never found the perpetrators. But the authorities have no problem going after us. That’s why we must show solidarity. The names we remember today are not the last ones, there will be more. It could be the names of your loved ones. Such tragedies feed off our indifference. We must act now- Sobecki said.

- The school must be a safe space for all children, regardless of their gender or sexual identity. Przemysław Czarnek, the new Minister of Education, cannot guarantee that it is so. His comments directed at women and non-heteronormative people are disgraceful. A person with such a controversial record cannot serve as the Minister of Education- said Małgorzata Wojtowicz, a Razem Party MP who organized the protest.

Later, she added that her party strongly opposes Mr. Czarnek’s nomination for the ministerial office.

-We do not accept this nomination. Education has been turned into a site of ideological rivalry. We must withstand this. To ensure the quality of education in our country, we demand that a National Education Committee is set up – urged a Greens member, Krystyna Boczkowska.

- There should be no place for homophobia, discrimination, and hatred in this ministry. There also shouldn’t be a place for Mr. Czarnek, whose comments only incite an atmosphere of hatred – said Ania Szulecka from the LGBT rights organization “No More”.

Does he even believe the things he’s saying?

Joanna Senyszyn, a Left Party MP, also joined the demonstration. She reminded the protesters of Mr. Czarnek’s chauvinist and anti-feminist statements. – He suggested that a woman’s role is limited to childbirth. His statements about LGBT people are a clear incitement to hatred. We can only guess whether he truly believes all these things he’s saying, or if it’s just cold political calculation. One thing’s clear- this man is dangerous – said Ms. Senyszyn.

Professor Ewa Hołuszko attended the protest as well. –The rest of Europe acknowledges the fact that the LGBT identity should have the same status as a heterosexual one. Joining the EU, we automatically accepted it to be true. Questioning these values is a violation of EU laws. But most of all, it’s a violation of human rights – said prof. Hołuszko, adding that –Mr. Czarnek’s words are anti-Christian and anti-human. But we’ll endure these hardships and emerge victorious. We must finally abolish homophobia in this country.

The Minister of Education should be on the side of young people

The Facebook post advertising the event read: “Does the new Minister of Education negate human rights? Or is trying to dehumanize non-heteronormative people? We understand school as a place where every child is entitled to safety and education. Child safety is our cardinal value. We live in a country where every year more than a dozen underage LGBT people commit suicide because of bullying and discrimination. The Minister of Education should be on the side of all young people”.

Mr. Czarnek’s infamous comments

Teachers and activists alike were appalled by some of Mr. Czarnek’s statements. Below are a selected few of his comments:

  • “For God's sake, it doesn't take scientific evidence to know that a homosexual relationship can only result in kidney stones, not children”,
  • "Instead of having children at 20-25, they’re giving birth at 30. When you give birth to your first child at 30, how many of them can you still have? These are the consequences of convincing a woman that she doesn’t have to do what God has called her to do",
  • "Let us protect the traditional family model from such corrupt, depraved, and absolutely immoral behavior. Let us defend ourselves against the LGBT ideology and stop listening to these moronic statements about human rights and all that equality nonsense. These people are inferior to normal people, and let’s finally end this discussion”,  
  • "There is no doubt that this entire LGBT ideology, which grew out of neo-Marxism, comes from the same root as German National Socialism, which is responsible for all the evils of World War II, the destruction of Warsaw and the murder of those who fought for our freedom in the Warsaw uprising. It’s of the same origin”.

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