WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Bart Staszewski felt angry and hopeless when local governments in Poland started passing resolutions last year declaring themselves to be free of “LGBT ideology.”
The activist and filmmaker objected to the way conservative officials were using the word “ideology” to describe what he considers a natural desire for people who love each other to be together. At least 100 municipalities or regions, mostly in conservative southeastern Poland, have passed declarations that vowed to keep out “LGBT ideology” or adopted “family charters” that backed heterosexual unions.
“I am just a normal Pole who just wants a good life with my partner and to be able to marry him one day,” the 30-year-old said. “Where is the ideology?”
In response, he settled on a protest around the communities that are now widely referred to as “LGBT-free zones,” a move that has enraged Poland’s conservative, nationalist government as his posts have gone viral.
With Poland under mounting international criticism for its treatment of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki accused Staszewski of carrying out a “hoax” that has led some to believe that Poland has a human rights problem.
Staszewski travels to the the areas involved, where he briefly attaches a yellow sign saying “LGBT-FREE ZONE” next to the town sign. He posts the photos on social media, sometimes including a lesbian or gay man from the town.
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