The Council of Europe criticized Poland’s “LGBT-Free” zones for creating hostility in an official report Wednesday.
The local government body represents 820 million citizens in over 47 countries. In the report, the council expressed that these zones are inciting violence through hate crimes and creating a damaging environment for LGBT youth. According to data from the report, Polish hate crimes more than doubled since 2019.
It all began in 2019 when Poland’s nationalist government campaigned against LGBT rights. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, nearly 100 regions making up one-third of Poland declared “anti-LGBT ideology” resolutions. Meaning, these regions stigmatize gay people and promote a “family charter.” The family charter only supports straight marriage.
“By naming people as an ideology, they dehumanize them,” said Andrew Boff. Boff co-wrote the council’s report. He further stated that this gives an excuse to raise violence in the community.
The report additionally declared that Poland experienced an increase in hate speech from public officials and the media. In response, the country argued that these resolutions are only “opinions” and do not hold any legal weight to LGBT rights.