Report from Lambda-Warsaw and the Campaign Against Homophobia
by Sander van der Eijk and Wim Monasso
Nederlandse vereniging tot integratie van homoseksualiteit COC HAAGLANDEN
Scheveningseveer 7, 2514 hb Den Haag
tel: 070-365.9090 / fax: 070-362.0204
C O N T E N T S :
Overview of Contents
Geographic map of Poland 2
Executive Summary 3
Developments in the socio-political and cultural context 4-6
KPH and Lambda: a brief profile 5- 7
Recommendations for support 8-9
ANNEXES:a. Main points of selected meetings
b. Terms of Reference for the fact-finding mission
c.. Overview of meetings held
d. CV’s of the two mission members
e. Bibliography and relevant websites
Geographic Map of Poland Cities visited during mission were: Warsaw, Gdansk and Cracow
We would like to dedicate this report especially to our Polish counterparts, i.e. the courageous men and women of KPH and Lambda. They have been excellent and hospitable hosts to us during our five-day mission to their beautiful country. Combining their daily jobs and studies with voluntary work, they are standing out as indefatigable activists who believe in a culture of tolerance, and of ‘respect for diversity’. On top of all this, they kindly facilitated our meetings, our logistical and boarding needs. We would like to express our sincere thanks for this, to each and everyone involved. It made our work and travels very stimulating, and the personal touch to our programme very special.
A word of appreciation is also due for the cooperative attitude we experienced with the Netherlands’ Embassy staff in Warsaw and, while preparing our trip, with the Dutch Police. Naturally, we owe many thanks to the sponsors of our mission to Poland, i.e. the Stichting Stedenband Den Haag -Warschau (Foundation for City-Link The Hague – Warsaw) and the Association COC Haaglanden. We hope that our mission findings, and the present report, will meet with our sponsors’ expectations for effective cooperation with KPH and Lambda in the planned three year period to come.
The socio-economic, political and religio-cultural conditions in Poland to-day indicate, that Homosexuality is indeed a taboo issue – as it was in The Netherlands in the 1950’s and 1960’s. In Poland, homosexuality is not uncommonly seen as an ‘illness from which the patient should be cured’, through hormonal therapy. In The Netherlands again, such medical ‘cure’ was still being promoted – though as a vanishing, highly controversial viewpoint – in the 1980’s.
Polish legislation, educational and other policies at national and local level, the media, the arts and sports hardly allow for a minimum of breathing space for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender people (LGBT) to live their lives freely, healthily and in dignity. Many of them are known to remain ‘in the closet’, including at the highest level of Government. Historically, as well as contemporarily, the role of the Roman Catholic Church is a key factor in preserving this status quo. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights presented, as part of the UN Human Rights Committee’s Concluding Observations on Poland on 5 November 2004, a series of critical comments about, inter alia, the state of affairs regarding Polish sexual education in school curricula, the right to non-discrimination of sexual minorities, and the need to prohibit such discrimination in Polish law.
Other international legal instruments are, likewise, a point of reference for Polish LGBT rights, e.g. the Treaty of Amsterdam, the E.U. Treaty of Nice, the UN General Assembly draft resolution on ‘the Right to Freedom of Sexual Orientation’ (the “Brazilian resolution”, on which ILGA has worked hard). From a political perspective, Poland’s recent changes after national elections – i.e. towards the extreme right- do not augur well at all for the situation of sexual minorities. Our interlocutors in Warsaw, Gdansk and Cracow frequently spoke of their “shock and disgust” about the recent political rightist shift of their country.
During our stay in Poland, we noted also some – positive – indications of change. Just to mention a few:
-research work in Gender Studies (and in related academic disciplines) is increasingly touching on Homosexuality
– European Union Guidelines on Non-Discriminatory Practices in Employment are, as it seems, the first ones to trickle down into concrete Polish labour situations, so as to trigger off improvement for people of sexual minorities.
– commercial banks do provide loans to gay and lesbian couples, without a problem.
mportant groundbreaking work to change the homophobic situation is being effectuated, slowly but steadily, by NGO’s and people in academia. We ourselves noted particularly the hard and enthusiastic work of volunteer activists, involved in the largest cities of Poland – Warsaw, Gdansk, Cracow – viz. under the aegis of KPH and Lambda. These two major associations for addressing LGBT issues, are legally recognised by the State. They are still very young in their existence – established in 2001 and 1997 respectively – and they are composed largely of young people. Their total number of activists is probably not more than about 200 people nationwide, against an estimated LGBT population of 2 million (or 5% out of the total of 39 mln).
In Poland’s seven largest cities, LGBT-activities are being undertaken, whether by KPH, Lambda, or by a few other, smaller groups such as Berit (Christian), etc. There is no outreach into the rural areas. It is not surprising to know that between Warsaw and rural village life, there is a marked difference in openness for things like a ‘Gay Pride’ march.
With a view to the Polish cooperation with COC Haaglanden (and possibly with other local COC’s) we have noted and discussed the stated organisational needs of KPH and Lambda. These needs are ranging from a long term strategy, more skills training, study or exposure visits abroad, to better networking strategies, more vigorous methods of fundraising, as well as to foreign/Dutch experts’ input in domains of psychological support and counselling related to LGBT people. Recommendations for follow-up activities in the coming three years are listed in the chapter on ‘’Recommendations’’, below. These are not addressed only to COC Haaglanden, but also to other public and private institutional players concerned, and to people of influence, both inside and outside the Netherlands.
1. On the occasion of Poland’s accession to the European Union in 2004, COC Haaglanden decided to propose a partnership of solidarity to and with the Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH) in Warsaw. Such a venture would fit very well into and complement the 13 years old city-twinning relationship existing between the Municipalities of The Hague and Warsaw. KPH agreed to this proposal during subsequent visits of KPH delegates to The Hague in August and November 2004 successively.
2. A one-week study and exposure trip of six Polish young female and male delegates from KPH (5) and Lambda (1) in May 2005 to Dutch COC associations in The Hague and elsewhere was the first substantive activity, undertaken successfully in the framework of the newly established cooperation (evaluation report available with COC Haaglanden and KPH, in Polish and English). The mutual conclusion after this first study visit was to have another, similar type of study visit, for a different group, in the year 2006. A major stated effect of the trip was the new awareness in KPH / Lambda that “Holland was NOT the Gay paradise as expected”, and the renewed belief that “KPH and Lambda people CAN DO things in Poland”.
The mutual evaluation of the study trip led to the agreement to follow up with various next programmatic efforts, i.e:
a) another similar study trip, but for a new group, the ‘second echelon’ in KPH/Lambda;
b) a counter-visit by COC Haaglanden to Poland to deepen the understanding of the Polish context in which
KPH/Lambda have to operate; and
c) to prepare a national conference in Poland to bolster education for non-discrimination.
3. This present document relates to item b: mapping the situation characterising KPH and Lambda, both in their internal and external roles and functions, their relative strengths and weaknesses as organisations (or movements) and their distinct needs for external support. The expected result, i.e. enhanced insight into the Polish context, should lead, most of all, to more effective, optimally responsive support from the Dutch partners’ side.
4. Planning of a five day visit to Poland, from 3 through 8 November, has been agreed among KPH/Lambda, COC Haaglanden and the City-twinning Foundation of The Hague-Warsaw. The programme will be prepared as a a joint collaborative effort that would help to underpin future joint planning of activities.
Goals of the mission :
5. for COC Haaglanden,to determine :
a) what the current activities, projects and experience of KPH and Lambda are;
b) how COC Haaglanden can best meet the needs of KPH and Lambda for providing technical support.
Within the time available, attempts will be made to obtain a better insight into the current socio-
political and religio-cultural conditions affecting the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender people (LGBT).
6. to describe, analyse and assess the institutional, organisational, financial as well as human resource features of both KPH and Lambda at the various relevant internal levels: nationally, provincially and locally, and in relation to their stated constituencies.
7. to map the dominant as well as dissenting (if any) opinions or positions of the major external players regarding KPH/Lambda’s role and work: i.e. of government legislation/policy/practice, the church, the media, academia and police.
Methods of work:
8. The delegation will execute its mission by studying preparatory literature, by meeting with representatives of all main actors mentioned above, and possible additional ones.
9. The findings of the delegation will be presented into a report in English, to be submitted to the parties involved, i.e.. KPH, Lambda, COC Haaglanden and the City-twinning Foundation The Hague-Warsaw; if desired, the report may also be translated into Polish, for further dissemination.
10. Locations to be visited: Warsaw, Cracow and Gdansk,as recommended by KPH/Lambda. KPH/Lambda (with additional input from a few other persons contacted by the COC Haaglanden delegation) will facilitate the appointments to be scheduled in each of the three cities, as well as accommodation for the two Dutch visitors.
By way of follow-up, KPH/Lambda invited COC Haaglanden to send a delegation to Poland, so as to enhance its understanding of the difficult Polish context for LGBT people, and to identify potential areas of future Dutch support to KPH/Lambda.
The present counter-visit by a COC Haaglanden delegation to Poland was, indeed, to contribute to a better understanding of the – both internal and external – factors at play for KPH and Lambda. With a more precise awareness of their organisational needs, we would jointly be able to make more impact in the coming three years.
Developments in the socio-political and cultural context
The acceptance of homosexuality in Poland is not evident. Although people’s attitudes in the large cities we visited during our fact-finding mission are considered to be more liberal in terms of sexual freedom, there is still great fear of homosexuality; this is even more so in the rural areas. This fear is also promoted by certain media, such as the influential ‘Radio Maria’, the Church, and right wing politicians.
The Roman Catholic Church, to which 95 % of the population belongs, played an important role in overthrowing Communism in the ‘eighties. The ‘Solidarity’ movement was supported openly by the Roman Catholic Church and the Polish Pope John Paul II became an important symbol of resistance. For this reason, the Roman Catholic Church still plays an important role in the public life of the Third Polish Republic, which came into being after the collapse of communism. Religious education in public schools was adopted by the Mazowiecki government in August 1990 under strong pressure of the Polish episcopate. Two subsequent attempts by Ombudsmen in 1990 and 1992, aimed at challenging this ‘imposed’ ruling on religious instruction in schools before the Constitutional Tribunal on the basis of violation of the principle of Church – state separation, were rejected. This important constitutional issue came up again during our discussions, as it seems to touch on the heart of the matter.
The lack of acceptance of homosexuality, which already existed under communism, was not curbed since then. Still, especially in rural area’s, there is a great fear of homosexuality, as it is considered sinful, and opposing the values of the Church, which, in the minds of many Polish, is connected to national identity. Obviously, the climate in the cities is more liberal, but openness is still considered a hazard for any political, business or academic career. In the medical domain, homosexuality is still often considered to be a disease which may be cured by hormonal therapy; this position is in contravention of the World Health Organisation’s stand of 1991 on Homosexuality. Furthermore, the right to demonstrate for tolerance towards gays and lesbians is not fully acknowledged by the local governments, as demonstrations are often not allowed for ‘formal reasons’, which in fact are political.
The accession of Poland to the European Union has been important for LGTB-rights, as the European Treaty for Human Rights and European regulations and guidelines have created a favourable legal and political context towards accepting equal rights for gays and lesbians. The slogan: “gay rights are human rights” is an important appeal in the current Polish situation.
The E.U. influence has lead to hopeful developments within Polish society. The policy developments for equal rights for women have been important also for the acknowledgement of the existence of sexual minorities and of the need for emancipation.
For one, the Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH) has contributed to putting the LGBT-rights issue in the centre of political attention, especially during the last elections. Also in academia, Gender (or: Queer) Studies are increasingly on the research agenda. Both in Gdansk, in Cracow and Warsaw we discussed with scholars who are researching the equal position of men and women in society.
We were also impressed about the way in which Lambda is organizing the support for LGTB-people in Warsaw.
KPH, in its own way, has put the LGTB-rights issue in the centre of political attention, especially during the last elections.
Even though there are some important accomplishments when it comes to emancipation of gays and lesbians in Polish society, the struggle for acceptance and tolerance towards sexual minorities remains. As we can see in the Netherlands in the struggle for emancipation of immigrant muslim women, at first ‘a small path is being cut out in the jungle’ in order to create a way forward. But in order to be successful in emancipation, only ’the cementing of a broad, sturdy highway’ will lead to a more permanent change in society. In Poland, the scattered organisations of the LGTB community have so far been able to make some first, disconnected pathways, but it takes strategic and long-term investments for a real break-through, to change society as a whole and to make it more tolerant towards sexual minorities and their specific ways of life.
One would need to add, that the current political situation in Poland – i.e. after the latest elections – is not favourable at all for the recognition of equal status for gay, lesbian, bisexual of transgender people. The personnel changes among government officials may lead to thorough policy changes in the field of equal rights. The sudden abolishment of the Secretariat of the Government Plenipotentiary for the Equal Status of Women and Men (this happened one day before our arrival) exemplifies the unwillingness of the new government, to contribute to the emancipation of gays and lesbians in Poland and to adhere to European legislation in the field of gender equality. Also, it may be feared that the civic rights of gays and lesbians to demonstrate for tolerance will be even less secure. Forbidden demonstrations may be no longer protected by the police force that resorts directly under the Home Office. The recent developments following our mission (on November 19th) when a demonstration for tolerance was forbidden in Poznan, and was stopped by the police force, show that this fear is actual and realistic.Taking this all into account, the situation is alarming, and therefore the need for international solidarity with our Polish counterparts may be greater than ever.
KPH and LAMBDA – a brief profile of the organisations
1. Kampania Przeciw Homofobii (KPH) or Campaign Against Homophobia was created on 11 September 2001 by a group of five founding members, forming a national lobby group “in order to protect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of sexual minorities” (a quote from KPH flyer). KPH’s activities have included from the outset: political lobbying, public education campaigns, petitions, legislative propositions, and promoting queer culture (i.e. the culture connected with the homosexual, bisexual and transgender communities) .
2. KPH enjoys the legal status of a ‘Public Interest Association’, thanks to which it is receiving yearly an amount of monies from donations by the public (routed via the Tax Office). This sum is however (still) very small (€ 1,202 in 2003).
3. Other income is derived from incidental grants from (mainly) international funding sources. KPH’s total income in 2003 was reportedly € 27,732., whereas total expenditures over 2003 were € 18.398. At the end of 2005, the annual turnover is about Euro 20,000, we were told.
4. KPH as an organisation has a national scope, but at this stage of its institutional development it concentrates on four geographic branches across the country, i.e.: Warsaw, Cracow, Gdansk and Silezia. A fifth, and new one, has just been established in Lodz, which focuses on Gender Studies. (During our mission we could not visit the latter two locations, due to time constraints).
KPH-National and Warsaw offices
5. The national office and the Warsaw office are in fact merged; the nice but small office space is rented from a women’s federation. The total number of core activists running this office is twenty, plus volunteers (they are less regular).
6. KPH’s internal Working Groups deal with the following domains: International Affairs, Legal Affairs, Anti-Discrimination, Youth, and Culture.
7. Special projects are undertaken for: ‘A Laboratory of Tolerance’ (for school counsellors and social workers), Youth Partnership (with the E.U.), the National Research Report on Discrimination of Sexual Minorities, lobby work, and lawyers’ advisory services.
8. The National Board is composed of 5 persons, representing all branches. KPH is completely run by volunteers, their age ranges around 25 to 35 years old.
9. KPH benefited politically from a supportive stance by the Secretariat of the Government Plenipotentiary for the Equal Status of Women and Men, but this official body within the Prime Minister’s Chancellery was abolished this November (as explained above); as yet it is unclear, if/to what extent the Ministry of Labour will take over any elements of the Secretariat’s important programme.
10. KPH’s major achievements so far include a successful national poster campaign (“Let them see us !”) for public education against homophobia, the establishment of a network of easily accessible academics around the country, and the piloting of a training programme for secondary school teachers.
11. From the latter pilot programme, a pool of 60 teachers, drawn from 200 Warsaw schools, took part in a series of four courses so far. Responses from evaluation were very positive, because teachers had lacked such training till then. Every day, KPH receives about 50 telephone requests from around the country for training The official curriculum for teacher training includes a component called “Preparation for Family Life”, which is usually taught by priests and nuns; this is not felt to be adequate for addressing LGBT issues. KPH mentioned in this context, that its contacts with the Ministry of Education were not good, unfortunately. It hopes to be able to improve these, however.
KPH (Campaign Agains tHomophobia)- Cracau
1. This branch was created in 2002 – one year after the KPH in Warsaw. Firstly, its work concentrated only within the
LGBT community, which meant meetings of self-help groups and a telephone help-line. It was the only LGBT
organization in Cracow. There were around 20 to 30 members, who met every Tuesday in the KPH office. Since the
last two years, KPH Cracow changed its goals and started to organise action for addressing the dominant heterosexual
society. Main events held, in chronological order:
– the first ‘Gay Pride ‘ Culture for Tolerance’ in Cracow in May 2004-
– a conference with LGBT groups from Neurenberg (Germany) and Cracow: “Together for Tolerance”
– a conference with youth groups from the Social Democratic Party- SLD, about the gay and lesbian issue in politics
– a project on the legalisation of homosexual partnership.
– the second edition of ‘Culture for Tolerance’, in April 2005.
– the conference between Leipzig and Cracow “Together for Tolerance”, in October 2005.
2. KPH Cracau currently has 20 active members. In every project, KPH cooperates with local NGO’s for anti-
Discrimination, as well as with feminist organisations. The focus is on political action, more than on social issues.’
This means the need for organising a meeting with political leaders in Cracow.
3. KPH Cracow’s main goals now are: a) to organise a workshop for young politicians, in order to teach them how to
make a good lobby in the LGBT minority. b)Partnership for Tolerance – continuation of the two earlier conferences of
Cracow with Leipzig and Neurenberg respectively, ‘Together for Tolerance’. Current efforts are geared to preparing
similar conferences with Goteborg , Milan and Sevilla.
KPH – Tri-City (Gdansk, Gdynia, Sopot)
1. This KPH branche, established in May 2003 following the national KPH Public Education Campaign “Let Them See Us”, is driven by a group of twenty-five activist women and men.
2. Due to lack of funds they do not have an office of their own, but they are kindly allowed to ‘borrow’ office meeting space from a sympathetic NGO, called Network of East-West Women (NEWW); the KPH Coordinator is based here as well. He sits also on the National Board of KPH, representing Tri-City.
3. KPH’s permanent activities here, focus on :
– psychological counselling (started in March 2005)
– political lobbying,
– participation in conferences, seminars, panel discussions (started April 2005 with LGBT artists/politicians meeting in Queerclub Factory)
– local program for equal rights.
4. In-between these permanent activities, KPH has co-organised public events with e.g. feminist organisations,
University of Gdansk and other like-minded institutional players.Main problems faced by KPH : (not in order of priority)
1.Too few members for sharing the workload. Gay and lesbian people are becoming less interested in working for an LGBT organization (quote from a young visitor to a Warsaw gay bar.: “ I lead my own life, I am not interested in that type of organizations”). On the other hand, more foreigners are interested and becoming involved.
2. Only young people are participating in KPH’s actions. Old people are absent, probably because of fear for coming out.
3. Turn-over of volunteers is high, hence there is no long term strategy, and the risk of fragmentation of efforts
4. Lack of funding, especially for costs of office administration and overheads; even low-priority project proposals are submitted for the sheer reason of obtaining monies, but not for relevance of the funded activity. This is time-consuming and not very effective.
5. Polish tax law includes regulations that deter local fundraising efforts by NGO’s such as KPH
6 Local governments ignore the LGBT issue
7. Culture and tradition are forming an obstacle. An important government ministry for promoting tolerance, such as the Ministry of Education, is unfortunately a fiercely closed-off bastion, completely inaccessible to KPH.
Talking about the urban domain, i.e. the larger cities, especially Cracow is the most conservative one, also known as ‘the Pope’s city’. Therefore, every LGBT-project seems to be perceived there as very provocative. For this reason, the Cracow mayor is reportedly afraid to support LGBT groups, even though he is a member of the Social Party.
8. Internal communication difficulties, especially between branches of KPH, are a cause of frustration.
1. Lambda was established in 1997 as a national organisation, and is as such the country’s oldest and largest LGBT entity. Its mission statement is: building positive identity of LGBT people, and creating social acceptance for them.
It is a member of ILGA (-Europe) since 1999. Its activities are geographically mostly based in Warsaw, but also in Szczecin, Poznan and Cracow – we could not visit them, due to time constraints – work is being done.
2. These various local Lambda groups, all working under this same name (see website references on last page of this report) are in reality autonomous, each having its own strategies and politics. Although they do co-operate in some fields, there has never been made an attempt to make a sort of federalised set-up, towards greater national impact. Presumably, many people at Lambda think that this would be a good idea, and in our opinion it is definitely worth serious consideration.
3. Lambda-Warsaw has been sponsored by the Ministry of Health, the Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Status of Women and Men, Municipality of Warsaw, the (defunct) Paradise Club, Bastylia Pancake Bar and others.
4. An important issue for Lambda Warsaw is professionalism. Lambda already implemented the Volunteers Ethical Code, it became member of the Polish Help-lines Association (PTPT), of the Federation of Social Service Organisations “Mazowia”, and of the National Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations.
Lambda-Warsaw also signed and implemented the Non Governmental Chart of Rules of Service.
5. The Lambda Warsaw programs running are:
– Information and Support Centre: it is offering counselling services to gays and lesbians, and their relatives, a help-line, support groups for gay men, for lesbians, for parents and relatives of LGBT people, for male prostitutes, Christians Group, group for alcoholics “Rainbow”, for foreigners, hobby groups (swimming, sailing, movie club), we also run a library and organise open discussions.
– There is also a possibility to meet with a psychotherapist, MD, and lawyer
– Monitoring of discrimination of LGBT people
– HIV/AIDS prevention program “Safer Relations”
– NGO capacity building workshops among LGBT people.
– Developing new structures of LGBT NGO’s by organising workshops for future LGBT NGO’s leaders
– Organising many kinds of workshops connected with many different subjects, like streetworking, psychological work with gays and lesbians, anti-discrimination politic
6. Lambda and KPH-Warsaw maintain good relations, and have joint monthly meetings at board level for coordination purposes. In some fields, they co-operate jointly (like in the production and distribution of the National Research report on Discrimination, or organising the Warsaw Pride).
7. Lambda’s response to the COC- suggestion of organising jointly a national conference in 2007, was positive: they consider this a good and feasible idea.
Based on the information, impressions and insights gained during our short mission to Poland, we would like to present the following conclusions – with the proviso, that we do not pretend having seen all of KPH/Lambda operations, nor having had sufficient time in the three cities visited, for a truly comprehensive discussion on all (or even the most important) aspects. The descriptive picture of the context and of the organisations visited (as presented above) is therefore, unavoidably, incomplete.
We do hope, however, that our report will be a useful basis of information, which should – ideally speaking – be broadened and deepened through subsequent complementary efforts from other LGBT –organisations in the European Union who wish to support their Polish peers.
Both authors of this report are open and interested to receiving comments or feedback, corrections, and ideas about additional ways of follow up. Our conclusions, then, are as follows:
1. KPH and Lambda are very important legally-recognised organisations for fostering LGBT rights in Poland. They each deserve all possible international support – moral and political, as well as financial and technical – in order to help them cope with the rather drastically changed political situation, and with the tough challenges awaited. Fortunately, they are not standing alone. Also the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Union, and the world-wide ILGA network – just to mention prominent entities in this respect – are watching closely what is going to happen in Poland’s domain of equal rights and non-discrimination.. As for the COC partnership with KPH/Lambda, we refer to our series of specific recommendations, below, for ways of supporting KPH and Lambda.
2. The stated Polish dream of ‘a Culture for Tolerance’ – as the Cracow Foundation with that name reflects – would best be promoted already at the earliest phase in life, i.e. to the age group of preschool children. The Polish curriculum for young children’s education does not yet seem to include the notion of ‘Respect for Diversity’ as is practised increasingly in European preschools (refer: www.decet.org ). Our impression is rather, that a monolithic “catholic white hetero-sexual value system” will retain its monopoly in educational curriculum development over the coming years.
3. The ‘right to be different’ should preferably be part of civil education. This notion will expectedly clash with the prevailing system of religious education in public schools. The constitutionality of this system seems to be a fundamental legal and political issue, that does impinge on the (potential) space within the educational system to raise necessary issues of equal rights for sexual minorities. Some of our interlocutors considered, that it would be inevitable to again challenge the legal basis of religious education in public schools before the Constitutional Court. However, we clearly noted widely diverging ideological and political stands on this issue within LGBT circles. Needless to say, this is a sensitive issue for the Poles.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FOLLOW-UP AND SUPPORT
Based on the findings and conclusions – as stated above – of our five-day mission, we would like to address our series of recommendations to the various levels requiring attention in our opinion, as follows:
Organisational skills training and strategy development:
a. For COC Haaglanden to continue the annual study trip to COC in The Netherlands in order to beef up the organisational capabilities of KPH/ Lambda; KPH/Lambda now emphasised a priority for visiting COC Leiden again
b. to facilitate the internal process towards formulation of a longer term national strategy, e.g. through a (low-key, and small-scale) weekend gathering (mid or late 2006) of KPH/Lambda leadership, possibly adding a few selected, like-minded outsiders for assuring a good mix of horizons
c. to consider supporting a professional media training for KPH-Lambda spokespersons
d. to facilitate a Training of Trainers (ToT) for wider outreach and impact in the areas of education and social work, with possible technical support from the European Information Centre `AIDS and Youth’ (EIC)
role of political ‘watch-dog’
e. to install at COC (Haaglanden, possibly combined with COC Leiden and COC National Office) a monitoring mechanism related to Poland’s LGBT scene and policies, linked with ILGA advocacy of LGBT rights
f. to continue our positive link-up with the Dutch police (Haaglanden and others) in relation to their professional cooperation with the Polish Police for the promotion of non-discriminatory policies and behaviour
g. to express protest in (and possibly beyond)The Netherlands against the recent abolishment of the Secretariat of the Government Plenipotentiary for the Equal Status of Women and Men (this was explicitly requested by KPH) upgrade fundraising potential of KPH/Lambda
h. to investigate, which possible obstacles (if any) prevent European Union-monies and some other funding sources from reaching certain progressive Polish NGO’s, like KPH; to explore funding options with open-minded Polish foundations
i. to inquire at the European Foundation Centre(EFC, Brussels) after the exact status and impact of Polish fiscal constraints to NGO-fundraising efforts at local level
strengthen cross-border networking connections
j. to encourage other COC’s (with a potential international interest) starting a City-Link with LGBT-groups in Cracow, Tri-City, Poznan, or other Polish cities
k. to encourage the Church Link Warsaw – The Hague so as to support the Berit-proposal for a national conference on faith and church-related matters, with Dutch theological/pastoral expert input
l. to facilitate inter-university exchanges among researchers in Gender / Queer Studies
m. to suggest civic exchange meetings between Polish and Dutch sport and arts teams (e.g. the Gay Swimming Club ‘Plons’ in The Hague)
n. to facilitate a link-up between interested KPH-related school teachers and the European Network on Respect for Diversity, DECET.
Main points noted from selected meetings
Royal Netherlands Embassy:
– much appreciation for City-Link activities between Municipalities of Warsaw and The Hague, and for nice civic projects achieved in various sectors; praise for the good work by City-Link Coordinator Ms Diana Grudzinska
– in framework of MATRA programme, NGO’s like KPH and Lambda play a useful role, by strengthening civil society and promoting a culture of tolerance and non-discrimination
– it is a sign of hope that Warsaw Municipality has contributed a sum of Zl. 25,000 for KPH’s activities
– apart from ‘heavy’ intellectual debates, possible Dutch-Polish exchange meetings in ‘lighter’ domains like sports, music, arts and culture, could be facilitated. That could help to bring out publicly the fun-side of LGBT people’s lives.
– Image of Polish police now improving: younger, English-speaking, more tolerant
– Supplying bank credits for gay/lesbian couples are not a problem anymoreBerit / Exodus:
– Working on solidarity among LGTB-people within the church and from the point of view of Christianity
– Staying within the Church, but one’s own conscience comes first;
– no political drive to start external (societal) involvement
– organising a conference with Dutch church-linked expertise seems a good idea (for Church-Link The Hague/Warsaw ?)SLD:
– local and regional media are important
– by abolishing the Secretariat of Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Status of Women and Men, the new government may be in violence of EU-directives.
– Recommended strategy in European political arena : “civilise and talk, don’t criticise”
Office of Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Status of Women and Men:
Minister not allowed to meet us, as she has been dismissed by the Prime Minister (on the day of our appointment with her). Some 20 staff probably will probably have to leave, too. Labour Ministry may take over concern ‘’for family and women.’’ Funding issues:
The influential Soros Foundation, through its intermediary (Batery Foundation) does not yet seem to include ‘Gender Equality’ as a programme value underlying their funding outlays, since various LGBT proposals were consistently rejected.. This situation is worth an inquiry, as KPH/Lambda would potentially be able to benefit from a future opening in that respect.
nederlandse vereniging tot integratie
van homoseksualiteit COC HAAGLANDEN
scheveningseveer 7, 2514 hb den haag
tel: 070-365.9090 / fax: 070-362.0204
Overview of meetings and visits during COC Haaglanden mission to Poland
3 through 8 November 2005
Thursday 3 November 21.40 hrs Arrival Warsaw Airport, met by KPH Vice-chairperson
22.00 hrs Welcome drink by Lambda representatives at LAMBDA Warsaw offices
Friday 4 Nov. 9.00 hrs Royal Netherlands Embassy:
Katarzyna Kolman, Assistant for Bilateral Programs (‘MATRA’)
Martin van Dijk, Cultural Attaché
10.00 hrs Democratic Left Alliance / Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej
National Executive Committee/International Office
11.00 – 14.00 hrs walking tour in the city, guided by LAMBDA
14.00 – 15.30 hrs lunch meeting with KPH Chairman Robert Biedron
16.00 – 17.00 hrs visit to Secretariat of Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Status of Women and Men;
Sylwia Spurek, Senior Specialist
Krzystof Smiszek, Legal Specialist
followed by brief contact with Polska Agencja Prasowa (Polish Press Agency)
17:00 – 19:00 meeting in KPH’s seat : open discussion about issues of co-operation
evening visit to ‘hetero-friendly gay club’ Tomba Tomba
Saturday 5 Nov.
9.00 hrs travel by train Warsaw-Gdansk
12.59 hrs arrival. Meeting with representative of Gdansk University – Gender Studies
14.00 – 17.00 hrs meeting with KPH Gdansk/Gdynia/Sopot at the office
of the Network of East-West Women, about local programme activities
evening visit to local LGBT club and to the Factory
Sunday 6 Nov. 10.00 hrs discussions with KPH leader, followed by guided city walk and lunch
16.00 hrs travel by train Gdansk – Cracow
22.00 hrs arrival, discussions about work of Foundation Culture for Tolerance
Monday 7 Nov. 9.00 – 11.00 hrs discussions continued, followed by guided city walking tour
11.00 – 12.30 hrs discussion with KPH Coordinator
12.30 – 14.15 hrs discussion at Center for Women’s Rights
14.15 – 15.00 hrs discussion with representative of Cracow University – Women’s Studies
15.00 – 16.00 hrs lunch discussion with co-founder of KPH Cracow
16.00 hrs travel by train Cracow-Warsaw
18.30 hrs arrival Warsaw, evening discussion about Berit and its activities
Tuesday 8 Nov. telephone contact with representative of Warsaw University – Gender Studies
winding up, city walk, preparing for departure. 16.50 hrs return flight to Amsterdam.
CV’s of the two mission members
Curriculum Vitae (1)
Family name :Van der Eijk
First Names :Sander Abel
Address :Lepelstraat 2B
2512 CW Den Haag
Phone :+316- 21 25 84 11
e-mail :firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Date of birth :3 November 1975
Birth Place :Assen, The Netherlands
Marital status :Single
∑ 2000-2005 :Study of Public Administration, Leiden University
∑ 1995-2001 :Bachelor degree of The Hague school of European Studies
∑ 1998 :Certificat d’Etudes Politiques, mention “assez bien” Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Rennes, France
∑ 1988-1994 :Secondary education, VWO, Eemland College in AmersfoortAdditional courses
∑ 2002 :Liberal Political Training Programme, H. van Soomeren Foundation
∑ 2001 :Summer school Telders Foundation 2001 “Criticism of liberalism”
∑ 1996 :Summer school Italian and History of Renaissance Art, Istituto Dante Allighieri in Florence, Italy
∑ English : Fluently, near native
∑ Frans : Fluently
∑ Duits : Fluently, near native
∑ Italiaans : IntermediateProfessional occupations
∑ Current : Policy advisor Integration and Immigration, Liberal Party (VVD)
Second Chamber of Dutch Parliament
∑ 2004 : Candidate European Parliament (ELDR)
∑ 2002-2004 : Policy advisor Liberal Party (VVD) City Council, The Hague
∑ 2001-2002 : Advisor Asylum Policy for liberal MP Henk Kamp
∑ 2000 : Decision maker Immigration Service The Hague (Internship)
∑ 1997-2001 : Freelance Tour-guide Buildings of Parliament, The Hague
∑ Currently : Member Working group European Policy, VVD The Hague
: Political Trainer Haya van Soomeren Foundation
: Member of International Working Group COC Haaglanden
∑ 2002-2004 : Local board member Liberal Party (VVD) The Hague
∑ 2002 : President and founder Student Board Platform The Hague
∑ 2002 : Member The Hague City Youth Council for Student Board Platform
∑ 2000-heden : Political Trainer Liberal Youth Association (JOVD)
∑ 2000-2002 : Political Commissary European Affairs JOVD Netherlands
∑ 2001-2002 : International political trainer VVD party, visits to Poland and Estonia
∑ 2000 : Member of Appeal Commission The Hague University board
∑ 1998-2000 : Secretary and President The Hague Student Association (HSV)
∑ 1996-1997 : Member of student board Ecumenical Student Pastorate (HaaStu)
∑ 1996-1997 : Co-ordinator Language Partner Programme European Studies
∑ 1995-1996 : Member of the Taskforce Internationalisation European Studies
∑ 1994-1995 : Voluntary Programme in Ecumenical Meeting House Casa Locarno
and the Ecumenical Institute Château de Bossey, Geneva,SwitzerlandLeisure
∑ Scuba Diving
∑ Liberal Philosphy
∑ Language skills
∑ Walking and mountain climbing
∑ Four days military March Nijmegen, 2002
Curriculum Vitae (2)Personal data
Name Wim A. Monasso LLM
Address Kanarielaan 7
2566 XX The Hague
Contact information Tel.: (31.) (0)70 – 3 106 586
Mob.: 06 – 2422 5244
Date / place of birth 12 October 1951 in Doetinchem (The Netherlands)
Civil status Living with partner
April 2004 – to date Free-lance Consultant to NGO’s, foundations, and other ‘civil society’ players
April 1991 – April 2004 Programme Specialist Asia/Pacific/Middle East/North Africa Region, at Bernard
van Leer Foundation, The Hague, on ‘Early Childhood’:
Policy development and implementation,
negotiating projects with governments and other parties,
maintaining contact with funders, governments, the European Union,
monitoring and advising project partners
January 1980 – March 1991 Programme Officer Asia/ Middle East region at Novib
(Netherlands’ Organisation for International Development Cooperation) :
Assessing project proposals, monitoring projects in
execution, fund-raising with EU and Dutch government,
advocacy work with UN agencies, embassies, Dutch parliament
Secretary of international (multi-party) projects
July 1977 – December 1979 Secretary to NOVIB Management Team;
Developing NOVIB’s international networkInternational missions
Missions executed for NOVIB, (Dutch) Foreign Office, and the Bernard van Leer Foundation, between 1980 and 2004 in : Australia, Cambodia, China/Hong Kong, Cyprus, Egypt, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Thailand, U.K., U.S.A., Vietnam, UN-HQ in Geneva and New York, to WHO, UNHCR.
Mission to Poland for COC Haaglanden (Nov.2005)Advocacy and fund-raising
Contactperson for my employers vis à vis UN Committee on the Question of Palestine
Host for development-interested delegations visiting the Netherlands resp. in Europe.
Member of Joint Missions to Palestine (‘88-‘90) of Dutch Government and Co-Financing Agencies
Adviser to Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation on Humanitarian Assistance for Palestine and Cambodia
Contactperson for cooperation with the European Commission (DG-VIII)
(Feb/March 2005 Faculty of Social Sciences, Free University, Amsterdam, post academic
Philanthropic Studies: “Policy, Governance and Evaluation” (certificate)
(Aug.) 2004 Faculty of Social Sciences, Free University, Amsterdam:
international Summer Academy on Philanthropy: “Good Governance in Foundations”
1970 – 1976 Faculty of Law, Catholic University, Nijmegen :
Peoples’ Customary Law in Non-Western SocietiesPublications and articles (law, politics and aid policies, education)
Ars Aequi, “Legal Aid in the Philippines – the ‘Free Legal Assistance Group’, E.Dijkstra/W. Monasso, Novib, 1982
Politics of / and aid:
“ Dynamics of Self – Determination”, Proceedings of the international academic conference on the Middle East, 16-18 June 1988, Amsterdam., ed. Erik Denters / Wim Monasso / Paul de Waart, Free University Press, Amsterdam, isbn 90-6256-751-7
A joint project of NOVIB and the Interfaculty Study Group on Peace and Security – Free University, Amsterdam, with co-sponsoring by the Arab Thought Forum (East Jerusalem) and the International Centre for Peace in the Middle East (Tel Aviv)
“ Report of a mission to Cambodia by Netherlands’ Members of Parliament / Politicians”, March 13-24, 1989” , ed. Wim Monasso, Novib
“ The Role of Fathers in Child Development”, Discussion Paper for the Bernard van Leer Foundation, The Hague, November 2000 (non-published manuscript)
Affiliation: International Commission of Jurists, Dutch Section
Dutch Donators Association
Foundation Habibi Ana, Amsterdam
Federation of Netherlands Lesbian-Gay Associations / The Hague (since 1976)
Languages: Dutch (mother-tongue); English (fluent),French (good),
German (good), Spanish and Italian (moderate)
Other areas of interest: piano, tennis, classic cars, story-telling, couture, slow-food
Bibliographya. Articles, published in 1999 by the ‘International Centre for Development of Democracy’ Foundation, sponsored by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Jagiellonian University Printing House, Cracau :
– “Winners, Losers, and How They Vote: Poland 1990-1999”, Janice Bell, p.41- 87
– “Public Choice Theory and Politico-economic Reforms in Poland”, Justyna Miklaszewska, p.87-99
– “Church and State in Liberal Theory and Polish Political Practice”, Stefan Auer, p.131-149
– “What Kind of Liberalism do Poles (and not only Poles) Need ?”, Andrzej Szahaj, p.165-174
b. Interview with Dr Magdalena Sroda, upon her appointment as new Government Plenipotentiary for Gender Equality, in Gazeta Wyborcza, 20 August 2004
c. Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: “Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee on Poland”, in document CCPR/CO/82/POL/rev.1
various recent articles on Poland, from European newspapers such as: Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Times, The Guardian, De Volkskrant, Trouw, Het Parool, NRC-Handelsblad, etc.
d.articles from ‘De Gay Krant’ (Dutch gay monthly) :
– “Polen op zoek naar plek in de kerk”, ed. no.420, 6 October 2000, featuring christian gay/lesbian group ‘Exodus’
– “Poolse Weerzin“, ed. no. 538, Aug./Sep. 2005, featuring KPH activities in Cracow
e. “Society and the Healthy Homo-sexual”, Georg Weinberg, 1972
f. “Homophobia in Poland”, Dr Zbigniew Izdebski
g. “Homosexuality and Gay People in Christian Europe”, John Boswell
h. “Faith Beyond Resentment”, James Alison, USA
i. “Called to Blessing – A Pastoral Letter on Faith and Homosexuality from the Working Group of Catholic Gay Pastors The Netherlands”, 1992, Amsterdam
(Polish version: “Powolani by otrzymac blogoslawienstwo – List pasterski na temat wiary I homoseksualizmu, opracowany przez, Aktywna Grupe Katolickich Pastorow Homoseksualistow w Holandii”)
j. “ A history of the LGBT movement in Poland since the ‘80s”, (in progress; for details: ask WM, mission report co-author )
k. “Globalisation of sexuality”, Krzystof Rajski ( s a m e )
l. “Similar To Others, Yet Different in Many Ways – HIV/AIDS Prevention: A Cultural Diversity Approach”, by the European Commission, NIGZ, Stichting AIDS Fonds, August 2003, ed.by Veron Vermeer and Juan Walter
Lambda – Poland http://www.lambda.org.pl/
Lambda – Warsaw http://warszawa.lambda.org.pl/?go=kontent/jezyki/angielski.html
Lambda Stettin (in Polish only) http://szczecin.lambda.org.pl/
Lambda Poznan (same) http://poznan.lambda.org.pl/i_gal.htmFederation COC Netherlands http://www.coc.nl/dopage.pl?thema=any&pagina=algemeen&algemeen_id=126
City-Link The Hague – Warsaw http://www.stedenbanddenhaag-warschau.com/sdw/pol/index.html
ILGA – Europe http://www.ilga.org/countries_target.asp?ZoneID=4&CountryID=169
ILGA /’Brazilian Resolution’ www.ilga/org/news_results.asp?.LanguageID=1&FileID=560&FileCategory=61&ZoneID=7UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2004, on Poland: www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/CCPR.CO.82.POL.Rev.%201.En?Opendo…
Country profile Poland on Sexual and Reproductive Health http://www.ippf.org/imspublic/IPPF%5FCountryProfile/IPPF_CountryProfile.aspx?ISOCode=PL
European Information Centre ‘AIDS and Youth’ (EIC)
Europe without homophobia http://www.broken-rainbow.de/de/veranstaltungen_20040119_poland.html
Foundation Culture for Tolerance www.tolerancja.org.pl
Gays in Poland http://www.globalgayz.com/g-poland-history.html
teaching ‘respect for diversity’ to young children www.decet.org
USA – funders (internationally) of
LGBT initiatives http://www.lgbtfunders.org/lgbtfunders
Dutch foundation for LGBT http://trutfonds.nl/indexen.html?