During a recent match between Polish Football Club Legia Warsaw and Miedź Legnica, a giant banner that read “Warsaw Free From Faggots” was unfurled and displayed by fans in response to the Warsaw Mayor’s declaration to affirm LGBT rights. While Poland is a relatively conservative country and well known for little protections for the LGBT community; the banner drew criticism from people all over the world who condemned the banner, fans and Legia Warsaw for allowing such a hateful message to be displayed. In a statement to PinkNews, a spokesperson for Legia Warsaw condemned the banner.
“The Polish Army Stadium is an arena of sports competition whose fundamental value is respect. It is also one of the most important values of our Club, this is why we critically assess all forms of behaviour that are contradictory to it,” The spokesperson said. “The content of banners hung by fans during matches does not represent the position of the Club. Legia has few million fans all over Poland and the stadium is a place for everyone.”
They continued, “We are appealing to the media not to mix Legia Warsaw with current political and ideological conflicts as part of ongoing election campaigns. Using popularity of the Club to publicise this type of dispute is socially harmful, and also unjustifiably affects its reputation.”
The spokesperson failed to mention anything about the content of the banner nor its specific references to LGBT people. 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.
By Dirk Smith