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ADDED ON: 04/25/2021

LGBTQ migration on the rise in Poland as homophobia deepens

4/24/21 | Deccan Herald

For months, government ministers spewed vicious rhetoric about gay people. Trucks blasted anti-gay hate messages from loudspeakers on the streets of Poland’s cities. Finally fed up with an increasingly hostile environment for gay people in Poland under the governing Law and Justice party, Marta Malachowska, a 31-year-old who works in social media, decided to move to Berlin with her girlfriend in December. “Last year the situation became too much for me,” Malachowska said, adding that she had suffered a nervous breakdown during the country’s presidential election last summer when anti-LGBTQ rhetoric engaged in by the governing party became especially shrill in an effort to appeal to socially conservative voters. The final straw came when a close friend was assaulted because of her sexual orientation, she said. Arriving in Berlin, she knew she had made the right choice. “The first thing I saw was a giant rainbow flag hanging across the street from our flat,” she said. “I take my girlfriend’s hand when we walk in the street, without thinking.” She added: “Back in Poland, there was always this fear inside me. Here, literally no one cares.” People have for decades left Poland looking for opportunities elsewhere in Europe — an exodus that grew after the country joined the European Union in 2004. But now their numbers are being added to by gay people fleeing an increasingly hostile environment in Poland. According to a 2020 survey by ILGA-Europe, an international gay rights organization, Poland now ranks as the most homophobic country in the European Union. Activists say that violence against gay people in Poland surged last year, and included cases of physical violence, insults and the destruction of property.

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