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As More Anti-LGBT banners Displayed at Polish Soccer Matches, Polish Athletes Are Standing Up to Homophobia

Following the anti-LGBT banner unfurled and displayed for 90+ minutes during a recent Legia Warsaw match. FARE Network has reported that at anti-LGBT banners have been displayed during matches for at least six more Polish soccer clubs. Legia Warsaw has condemned the banner displayed during their match, however the statement was lacking, did not mention LGBT people and only in response to media inquiries.

The right wing Polish government has been brutally homophobic and anti-LGBT. Poland currently ranks 38th out of 49 European Countries in terms of LGBT rights and protections. Other than the move by Trzaskowski, Poland offers very little if any protection for LGBT citizens and the conservative government has been openly hostile toward the LGBT community. In addition, anti-LGBT violence is quite high, with 70% of people who identify as LGBT having experienced violence motivated by anti-LGBT hate.

This hasn’t stopped several prominent Polish athletes from speaking up against the hate. On Sunday, March 17th, several Polish athletes took to social media in response of the banners and to support of the LGBT community. Including, footballer Radek Majdan and his partner Małgorzata Rozenek, double world champion in sailing Jolanta Ogar-Hill, Polish champion in Muay Thai Kamil Siemaszko, paralympic swimmer Karolina Hamer, coach in Muay Thai and MMA, co-founder of sports clubs Academia Gorila, Grzegorz Sobieszek, and European runner-up Jiu-jitsu Ne Waza Tomasz Paszek.

The athletes wore t shirts with the hashtag #sportprzeciwhomofobii (Sport Against Homophobia) which were shared all over Facebook and Instagram to encourage more Polish people to come out against homophobia.

“With the action #sportprzeciwhomofobii we want to show that the world of sport may look different – that there are athletes in Poland who are opposed to homophobia and speak out about it,” says Franciszka Sady from Kamania Przeciw Homofobii (KPH) “These photos are just the beginning. We hope that after publishing photos of the first group of athletes, other personalities from the world of sports will join the action.” (quote was translated from Polish and edited for clarity).

By Dirk Smith

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