Poland LGBT rights situation ‘worrying’: French minister

The state of LGBT rights in Poland is “worrying”, French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said Monday after meeting activists during a visit to Warsaw.

Beaune also said he was advised against his plan to visit one of Poland’s “LGBT-ideology free zones”.

“The message was… that there were difficulties linked to the current epidemic situation and that it would be seen as a bad gesture” said Beaune, adding that he would make the visit during a future trip to Poland.

LGBT rights have become a flashpoint issue in Poland in recent years under the populist Law and Justice (PiS) party government, which campaigns against what it calls “LGBT ideology” and likens it to communism.

With support from the government, several regions have declared themselves free from “LGBT ideology” in a protest against support for gay rights from Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, an opposition leader.

“I have not come to give lessons, but there is a worrying situation and my meetings have confirmed this,” Beaune said.

“On the other hand, I think that we cannot break off dialogue in the EU even when there are difficult situations and we have disagreements,” he said.

The French minister also highlighted areas of cooperation between France and Poland, especially in the areas of energy policy, digital taxes and environmental issues.

He said “it would be stupid” to stop working together on issues like carbon taxes because of disagreements.

Beaune also met with Polish women’s rights activists, including Marta Lempart, who has been charged for organising protests against a tightening of abortion laws and faces up to eight years in prison.

Beaune came out as gay in December and said he intended to visit one of the local councils in Poland that has declared itself “free of LGBT ideology”, having previously called such zones “an absolute scandal”.