The Leader of Law and Justice Party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, delivers a speech at a campaign convention on May 19, 2019 in Krakow, Poland. (Omar Marques/Getty)
The leader of Poland’s ruling party has announced that the “travelling theatre” of LGBT+ Pride marches must be “unmasked and discarded.”
Poland is preparing for a parliamentary election on October 13. The conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party has targeted the LGBT+ community as a key campaign issue, depicting them as undermining Catholic values.
At a party campaign rally on Sunday (August 18), PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczyński told voters: “The hard offensive, this travelling theatre that is showing up in different cities to provoke and then cry… we are the ones who are harmed by this, it must be unmasked and discarded.”
The law must be fully enforced to “regulate these matters”, he added, but did not elaborate further.
PiS maintains a close relationship with Poland’s influential Catholic church. The party is leading in opinion polls and is expected to win a fresh four-year mandate.
Political analysts reporting to Reuters say PiS’ open criticism of LGBT+ rights could be a strategy to rally its conservative rural base for the election.
In April, Kaczyński called the gay rights movement a “threat” to Polish identity and the state.
He said at a conference: “These ideologies, philosophies, all of this is imported, these are not internal Polish mechanisms. They are a threat to Polish identity, to our nation, to its existence and thus to the Polish state.”
The Polish LGBT+ community has united in defiance of the growing hate in the Eastern European country, with thousands joining the #JestemLGBT (I am LGBT) hashtag on Twitter to share support.