menu

Monocolumn: The Growth Of Polish Pride

Monocolumn: The Growth Of Polish Pride
Advertising

At first glance, the idea seemed risky at best. After Madrid, Stockholm and Zürich, this year’s EuroPride, Europe’s biggest gay parade, is set to be hosted in Warsaw, Poland’s capital.

Monocle
  • 16 july 2010

Monocolumn is Monocle’s daily bulletin of news and opinion. Catch up with previous editions here.

Monocolumn- The Growth Of Polish Pride

At first glance, the idea seemed risky at best. After Madrid, Stockholm and Zürich, this year’s EuroPride, Europe’s biggest gay parade, is set to be hosted in Warsaw, Poland’s capital. Slated for tomorrow, 17 July, this will be the first time the annual parade has been held in a former communist country. Given Poland’s conservative reputation, and the absence of legal recognition of gay civil unions under the Polish law, many expect the rainbow parade to be twice as powerful and colourful as usual.

While Polish organisers anticipate between 50,000 and 70,000 participants, including about 20,000 from abroad, the marchers might face trouble on their way through the city centre. Extreme-right groupings are planning a counter-march for the same day, supposedly to celebrate the 600th anniversary of a medieval battle between Poland and Germany.

But this is hardly surprising to the Polish LGBT community. Its annual Equality Parade, held in Warsaw since 2005, sees several thousand participants, and a few dozen protesters, each year. Five years ago, the parade’s organisers encountered rock-solid opposition from the city authorities. Warsaw’s then-mayor Lech Kaczynski, who later became the country’s president, banned the parade on grounds that it could lead to “disturbing public order”. The several-thousand crowd marched through the capital anyway, and since a more moderate Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz was elected Warsaw’s mayor in 2006, the Equality Parade has established itself in the city’s calendar for good.

Konrad Ozdowy of Mustache Warsaw, a cultural association that is co-organising some of the events accompanying this year’s EuroPride, argues that even though Poles are renowned for their conservatism and traditionalism, Poland’s capital is a city that runs at fast pace.

“Warsaw isn’t like Berlin or Paris but it draws the creative class from around the country. For them, the possibilities here are unlimited,” argues Ozdowy. “Many young Poles get comfortable with the atmosphere of tolerance and freedom in other parts of Europe. When they come back, they want to have it at home as well,” he argues.

As tolerance for homosexuality grows in Poland, so do has the number of celebrities coming out. Tomasz Raczek, noted film critic and former editor of Playboy magazine’s Polish edition, and the popular soap-opera actor Jacek Poniedzialek are among those who breached the taboo and admitted to being gay in interviews. Such frankness had been, until recently, unthinkable, yet not only did it not damage their lives, but on the contrary, it put their careers on a fast track, and made them favourite breakfast television personalities.

“For years, Poles have been told they’re conservative and intolerant. Politicians want us to believe that, and the media reiterate this message. But Poland has a rich tradition of tolerance. Throughout our history, we never had any witch hunts, and we showed tolerance for religious dissenters,” Raczek argued in a press interview.

“It seems obvious that EuroPride won’t change some people’s attitude overnight. However, the democratic breakthrough that Poland achieved in 1989 has paved the way for progress in other fields, and the appetite for freedom will only grow,” believes Ozdowy.

Jarosław Adamowski is a writer based in Warsaw

Monocolumn is Monocle’s daily bulletin of news and opinion. Click here to read more, or here to subscribe to the monthly magazine.

Image by Veer.

Veer has recently relaunched its site, Veer.com, with a simplified, easy to use interface allowing for enhanced and simplified image search.  The site, which is a go-to source for creative and affordable stock photography, illustrations, fonts and merchandise, helps people add style to business, marketing, and personal design projects.

Trending

Machine Printer Uses Coffee Drips To Create Intricate Portraits

Arts & Culture
Technology Yesterday

Why Nest Doesn't Get The Holidays

PSFK founder reacts to the damaging effects of poor email marketing

Children Yesterday

Robots Could Be Joining Dubai’s Police Force In 2017

The real-life RoboCops can salute, shake hands and collect traffic fines

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Travel Yesterday

Parka Hides And Charges Portable Devices

Bolt is a jacket that lets people carry and charge their various electronics without the need for an outlet

Related Expert

Ayah Bdeir

Technology, Making, Education

Food Yesterday

Yelp's New 'Yelfie' Feature Lets Diners Take Selfies

The update is designed to encourage people to attach a selfie when they share their experiences

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Build Your Own Savory Cheese Advent Calendar

A British food blogger has created a guide to building a different kind of holiday surprise

Fitness & Sport Yesterday

Floating Gym Concept In Paris Is Powered By Your Workout

The proposed design from Carlo Ratti Associati lets passengers ride a stationary bike as they travel through Paris along the Seine River

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed november 22, 2016

Digital Strategist: Why “Big Sensing” Is Key To Retail’s Future

Bud Caddell, Founder of NOBL, shares why the most capable and useful asset in any retail environment is the workforce

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Syndicated Yesterday

What Does The Future Of Android Look Like In A World With The Pixel?

Google’s decision to make its own phone might have looked like a blow to the likes of Samsung but the reality is much more interesting

Retail Yesterday

Customer Service Expert: Why Offline Retail Has Better Data Than Online Retail

Healey Cypher, Founder and CEO of Oak Labs, shares why we should be thinking about the physical store as an e-commerce site

Fashion Yesterday

Alexander McQueen Designs A 3D-Printed Umbrella

3D-printed fashion arrives in time for the winter season

Work Yesterday

Why Training Associates To Be Advocates Is Key To Retail Success

In our Future of Retail 2017 report, PSFK Labs discusses strategies to prioritize customer service, which begins with associate advocates

Media & Publishing Yesterday

Netflix Creates Binge Candle To Celebrate A New Season Of Gilmore Girls

The streaming service developed a special layered candle that creates candle with episode-specific smells

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Interactive Film Tells A Story About Living With Cancer

A moving song written by a father of a cancer patient comes alive in a 3D environment

Automotive Yesterday

Audi And LEGO Exhibit Autonomous Vehicle Installation

The installation at Design Miami explores the 25th hour, which represents bonus productive work or play time

No search results found.