Jakub and Dawid Mycek-Kwiecinski know how to make a statement. The pair have gone viral for their campaign of handing out free face masks the public that feature the Pride Flag.
The married couple lives in Poland, a nation still rampant with homophobia. Same-sex couples do not enjoy the right to marry or legal recognition of marriages performed in other nations. LGBTQ Poles are also forbidden from adopting children. As the queer community in Poland has gained some legal protections in the past year, parts of the nation have actually begun declaring “rainbow-free” zones; that is, areas and businesses that show open hostility to the community. In fact, Jakub claims he lost his job as a TV host after coming out.
The homophobic climate of Poland makes Jakub & Dawid’s gestures during the coronavirus crises all the bolder.
“Many people call gay people a plague, so we thought we might change their mind by helping people overcome a real plague,” the couple wrote on Facebook. “We borrowed grandma’s sewing machine and started sewing masks to offer them for free on the streets. Our masks are unique because they are all rainbow! Our friends, dressmakers, were able to help us create 300, which we brought to the streets.”
The attention gained by the pair has also prompted them to begin sewing a new batch of masks to sell to international supporters.
At present, Poland reports a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases nationwide. The nation reports 9,287 confirmed cases and 360 deaths from the disease, and the nation has instituted social distancing policies to curb the spread of the virus.