It happened less than two weeks after Warsaw signed the country’s first LGBTI rights declaration
Less than two weeks after its mayor signed a historic accord recognizing the rights of LGBTI people, homophobes unfurled an anti-gay banner at a soccer match in Warsaw.
Fans of the team Legia Warsaw unfurled the massive banner which read, ‘keep Warsaw free from faggots’ on Friday night. The banner also featured the LGBT acronym with a red line through it.
Legia Warsaw are the reigning champions in the Polish soccer league. Its fans are notorious for the hooliganism and far-right supporter base.
The homophobic action came just weeks after Warsaw’s mayor, Rafal Trzaskowski, signed the first ever LGBT+ Declaration in central-eastern Europe last week. It was also the first document recognizing LGBTI rights in Poland. The banner was a likely response to the signing of the declaration.
‘Warsaw is a city for everyone that does not discriminate against anyone,’ he said at the time.
‘Warsaw for everyone is a place where everyone feels safe and absolutely everyone can count on support regardless of sex, color, religion, origin, sexual orientation or views.’
Polish LGBTI organization, Love Does Not Exclude, told Gay Star News a wave of ‘homophobic backlash’ was sweeping the country.
‘This banner is clearly a reaction to signing LGBT+ Declaration by the city’s mayor Rafal Trzaskowski,’ said Love Does Not Exclude spokesperson, Oktawiusz Chrzanowski.
‘Legia is a major and most revered football club in Warsaw and in Poland. Football hooligans in Poland have strong ties with far right extremists and nationalists and have a strong presence on many Polish football stadiums.
‘For years the LGBT+ community has been the main target of hate for those groups’.
Chrzanowski said for this to not happen again the government must enact laws which make hate crimes towards LGBTI people illegal.
‘However we are observing a change in attitude in current opposition parties and a will to talk about it after the tragic death of mayor of Gdansk, Pawel Adamowicz earlier this year and horrible homophobic attacks after the signing of LGBT+ Declaration.
‘So the situation might change after national parliamentary elections in the autumn.’
No official outcry
European anti-discrimination soccer organization, Fare Network, condemned the homophobia and the lack of response from official soccer bodies.
At the time of publishing Legia Warsaw, the Polish Football Association or UEFA (European Football Association) had acknowledged the homophobic incident.
‘This incident shows us that in parts of Europe the basic rights of LGBT+ people are not taken for granted,’ the Fare Network told GSn.
‘The fight is still very much on, especially in football. What is striking in this case, is that blatant homophobia and denial of basic human rights is framed as a legitimate political debate, as a ‘response’ to the mayor of Warsaw initiatives to protect LGBT+ people.
‘These messages are unacceptable and damaging to the game, and we are looking for strongest reaction from everyone in football – Legia Warsaw, the Polish Football Association (PZPN), UEFA and FIFA is necessary action is not taken on national level.’
Chrzanowski agreed, saying soccer officials and politicians needed to speak out more.
‘Legia’s stadium is a city stadium, we need condemnation from sportsmen, sport associations and the club itself. There should also be a swift response from the city itself,’ he said.
‘None of this happened yet.’
by Shannon Power
Source – Gay Star News