Gay pensioners not welcome in town (on posters)

19 12 2007

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza daily (19 Dec 2007)
Authors: Emilia Iwanciw, Aleksandra Lewińska
Translation: MoPoPressReview
link to the original article

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Posters containg confessions like ‘I’m a pensioner, I’m gay’, ‘I’m a pharmacist, I’m lesbian’ will not be hung in the city of Bydgoszcz. The company managing the advertising pillars did not agree. Therefore Bydgoszcz will not be taking part in the nationwide campaign, aiming to raise the gay people’s self-esteem.

The action called ‘You are not alone’ is an initiative of the Toruń branch of the Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH) Association. 500 posters were placed in Toruń on Monday, previously similar posters appeared in Tricity. The characters featured in the posers admit to having different sexual orientations. Although it is not possible to recognise them, each is signed with a name, we’re told what they do for living, and in which city district they live. –‘Our message is aimed to reach both homosexual and heterosexual people’, says Agnieszka Szpak, KPH coordinator. – ‘The former we want to make aware of the fact they are not alone, and the latter that just next to them live people who although seem different, are very similar.’

We showed the posters to several people passing-by the Gdańska street in Bydgoszcz yesterday afternoon. They didn’t seem outrageous to most people we met. 23-ear-old Karol was surprised: – ‘I didn’t know there are so many gay people in Bydgoszcz.’

75-year-old Zofia was upset at first: – ‘A gay pensioner? When someone is a pensioner does he have to be gay?’ letnia pani Zofia początkowo się obruszyła: – When we explained her what is this action for, her attitude softened: – ‘These posters make no harm to anyone. People are born like that.’

The agency managing the advertising pillars thought the opposite. The action that will run nationwide, was supposed to begin in Bydgoszcz yesteday as well. I didn’t because the ReMedia company denied the advertising space. – At the agency at first I heard that our posters could offend the dignity of onlookers. Then in their official e-mail I read about a “possible disapproval of the passers-by” – says Szpak.

Remedia’s employee admits she didn’t agree to cooperate with the association – ‘The subject of the posters is cntroversial. Although it doesn’t offend my dignity, people are different’ – she says, asking for her name not to be published. – ‘I was worried that the City Council (which owns the pillars) might not like these posters. And if so, we could have been fined.’

‘An action like this doesn’t offend anyone’ – says Maciej Grześkowiak, deputy mayor of Bydgoszcz, responsible for the city’s image. – But since it inflicts controversies, I’ll order the content of the posters to be analysed. I would also like ReMedia t o have a meeting with the Public Roads Department and settle what to do in such instances in the future.’

Is there a chance to still have the Campaign Against Homophobia in Bydgoszcz? – I ask the ReMedia co-owner.
‘Since there is so much fuss about this, the association can come and hang their posters even today’ – answers Magdalena Florek.

KPH coordinator: – This year we won’t make t to print more posters, but we’ll decide on what we’ll do in the next days. If all of us agree, we might launch this action in Bydgoszcz in January.

COMMENT
Michał Cichoracki, a sociologist for Gazeta Wyborcza- The company which denied posters to be hung, has auto-censored themselves. Probably due to fear from the different. It’s because for many years this subject was being swept under the carpet. Luckily the younger generation homosexuality doesn’t inflict negative emotions. Young people are not affraid of the different. However as long as we’re still discussing this, it means the problem of homophobia still exists in our society.

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If you enjoyed this post why not visit Polandian, a collaborative blog on Poland.

 

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Prime-minister: ‘you cannot fire someone because they are homosexual’

17 03 2007

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza of March 15, 2007

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The prime-minster, currently on an official visit to Holland, said that a person cannot be fired on the ground of their homosexual orientation. It came as a reply to the statement deputy Minister of Education Miroslaw Orzechowski’s statement. On Thursday, in an interview for TOK FM radio, he said that gay teachers, who come out, will be fired from work. Teachers’ Union ZNP demands the deputy minister to be fired instead.

Mirosław Orzechowski yesterday declared a fight with promotion of homosexual behaviour – and like he said – “other deviations of this kind” in schools and educational facilities. He added that disobedience in that matter will be punished severely. A teacher who will invite agitators, will lose his job, or even face jail. The same would apply to persons promoting homosexualism.

The Ombudsman is “deeply concerned

The Ombudsman expressed his ‘deep concern” (…). “Particularly inappropriate I find the remarks of Mr Miroslaw Orzechowski, who uses terms like “deviants” when talking about gay people’ – The Ombudsman Janusz Kochanowski wrote in his statement.

Ministry of Education’s spokeswoman Aneta Woźniak assured, that the deputy minister did not use the term “deviant” referring to persons. – ‘Deputy Minister Orzechowski was not talking about people, but actions. When you talk about “deviations” you mean the abnormal behaviour’ – she explained.

ZNP Teachers’ Union: Orzechowski should be dismissed

According to ZNP, Orzechowski should be dismissed for the remarks he made on Thursday. “The deputy minister announced that gay teachers will be fired” – says their statement. Therefore, according to the union, Orzechowski has broken the Constitution, which assures everyone is treated equally by the public authorities.

Aneta Woźniak replies that the deputy prime minister did not announce that gay teachers will be fired. – ‘No one will ask about your sexual preferences. Only those, who promote homosexualism will suffer the consequences’ – said the spokeswoman.

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If you enjoyed this post why not visit Polandian, a collaborative blog on Poland.





‘We do not want such deviations in schools’ says The Ministry of Education

15 03 2007

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza daily of 14th March
Author: Aleksander Pezda

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Ministry of education to ban homosexual propaganda in schools. And to punish for it with prison or fines.
Miroslaw Orzechowski at Press Conference.‘So far this is only a Ministry’s idea, however there are works under way for a project of a statue.’ – said Deputy Minister of Education Miroslaw Orzechowski (League of Polish Families Party – LPR).

‘The act will not affect the rights of homosexual persons, those who suffer from this condition’ – declared the deputy minister. ‘It will only halt the way to promotion of behaviour of this kind in schools and education facilities.’

Who will be subject to criminal investigation? According to Orzechowski ‘every individual, who will promote homosexualism and other deviations in schools’ will face prison or fines. It will also apply to those ‘who promote homosexuality in a way suggesting that it it sanctioned by the educational facility’.

The journalists were asking, if breachers of the proposed act will face prison, and if so for how long. ‘You have the Criminal Bill, look it up, check what is there for other deviations. We are only at the stage of planning now.’

The journalists were also asking, what is ‘homosexal propaganda’ supposed to mean. Would for example inviting a homosexual singer, who would admit, on stage, that he is homosexual fit under that definition? – ‘I don’t see anything wrong with that. Everyone can admit he is a pederast’ – said the deputy minister.

So is information about homosexuality in a biology coursebook allowed? – ‘Yes, because that would belong to the zone of knowledge’.

To give an example of reprehensible homosexual propaganda Orzechowski has shown a leaflet produced in 1998 by the Krakow Group of Lesbians and Gays entitled ‘Live passionately, make love safely’. Leaflets were part of an anti-HIV campaign, promoting the use of condoms and safe sex.

‘It instructs how to make anal homosexual sex’ – the deputy minister was outraged, and said that such leaflets were distributed in schools in Krakow.

The leaflets were indeed distributed to Krakow high school students, not in schools however, but in the Krakow City Hall, where they were brought for a workshop on preventing AIDS.

Asked if homosexual propaganda was a common pracitice in Polish school, deputy minister said ‘No, but we have to stand against it’.

He pointed out to the Council of Europe’s handbook for teachers as another example of pathology. The publication entitled ‘Compass: Educating on Human Rights’ contains proposals for lesson scenarios, also about homosexualism. Minister of Education Roman Giertych has fired the president of Teachers Education Institution Miroslaw Sielatycki, for having published that handbook. The case of his dismissal is waiting for hearing in the Labour Court.

(…) Deputy minister Orzechowski admitted, that it is dufficult for him to talk about homosexuality, at this subject repulses him.

The government has not yet seen the ministry’s project. However on yesterday’s press conference, the prime-minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski asked about it, said ‘agreeing for homosexual propagannda in schools is too much. These restrictions should be applied’.

What does Law and Justice Party (PiS) MPs think about this?

Maria Nowak, PiS MP, deputy chairwoman of Sejm’s Education Commission makes light of the whole matter. ‘This is LPR’s move to win more popularity’

However she admits that she personally finds homosexuality as something ‘not entirely normal’. – ‘And I see no reason for inviting homosexual people to schools. This is their private matter, and you do not need to talk about it too much, and pay so much attention to it’– she says.

‘There are homosexual characters in handbooks for British kindergarten children, in French books they analyse all kinds of families, including homosexual couples. Only the Polish administrative life is behind’ – commented Yga Kostrzewa, spokeswoman for Lambda Warsaw, gay and lesbian association. – ‘We can close our eyes and pretend that there is no problem, but this will not change the fact that homosexualism in Poland exists. Talking about this in schools is not dangerous: talking will not make anyone adapt homosexual orientation’.

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