Lawmakers protest Polish president’s anti-LGBTQ views by forming rainbow at his swearing-in

Erin Donnelly
·4 mins read

In the U.S., some female lawmakers have used suffragette-inspired white suits and, for the vote on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in December, dark, somber outfits to make a political statement. In Poland, however, left-wing members of parliament (MPs) are using bright, bold colors to take a stand.

Thursday saw the second swearing-in of Polish President Andrzej Duda, who was re-elected last month and will serve another five-year term; Aug. 6 also marks the five-year anniversary of Duda first assuming office as president, in 2015. The ceremony in Warsaw comes just two months after the conservative leader caused controversy pledging to bar gay couples from getting married or adopting children. He also opposes the teaching of LGBTQ issues in school, and has said that the LGBTQ community “are not people” but an “ideology” he deems “more destructive” than communism. Just days before being re-elected in a runoff race, Duda, an ally of Poland’s Law and Justice Party (PiS), called for a constitutional amendment formally banning gay couples from adopting children, saying, “I am convinced that, thanks to this, children's safety and concern for the good of children will be ensured to a much greater extent.”

Polish President Andrzej Duda (pictured second from the left, with wife Agata) was confronted by left-wing parliamentarians taking a colorful stand for LGBTQ rights. (Photo: WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Polish President Andrzej Duda (pictured second from the left, with wife Agata) was confronted by left-wing parliamentarians taking a colorful stand for LGBTQ rights. (Photo: WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

While Poland has been declared, per a 2020 survey from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), the worst country in the European Union for gay rights — indeed, Duda’s more centrist rival also opposed adoption by gay couples — not everyone shares those views. On Thursday, a group of MPs let Duda know exactly how they felt about his homophobic positions by wearing rainbow face masks and outfits representing the colors of the rainbow, defiantly posing outside the Polish parliament building in a show of solidarity for the LGBTQ community and the rainbow pride flag. (While predominantly women, the group included one male MP, Maciej Kopiec, who sported a bright orange blazer over his dark suit.)

The lawmakers took a sartorial stand against Duda's conservative views on the LGBTQ community. (Photo: WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
The lawmakers took a sartorial stand against Duda's conservative views on the LGBTQ community. (Photo: WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

“We wanted to remind President Andrzej Duda that ... in the constitution there is a guarantee of equality for all,” Left MP Anna-Maria Żukowska said, per the New York Times, adding that Duda’s campaign had “dehumanized LGBT people by denying them the right to be people."

The Globe Post reports that MPs decided wearing the bright colors — and posing in a rainbow arrangement, so as not to be cropped out in press images of the event — was a more productive form of protest than boycotting the swearing-in ceremony.

“Instead, we have decided to symbolically demonstrate our solidarity with people who live month by month in an atmosphere of increasing fear and insecurity in their own country,” a statement from the group, who also posed with gay pride flags, reads.

President Duda (pictured on Aug. 3) was re-elected to a second five-year term last month. (Photo: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
President Duda (pictured on Aug. 3) was re-elected to a second five-year term last month. (Photo: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

MP Wanda Nowicka, who wore a purple dress for the ceremony, also presented Duda with a letter demanding an end to his discriminatory campaign against LGBTQ people.

Along with Żukowska, Nowicka and Kopiec, the group featured MPs Katarzyna Kretkowska, Monika Falej, Beata Maciejewska, Anita Sowińska, Malgorzata Prokop, Katarzyna Ueberhan, Agnieszka Ewa Dziemianowicz-Bąk and Joanka Scheuring-Wielgus.

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