Poland just underwent its most consequential election since it was under communist rule, with opposition parties winning enough seats to oust the country’s far-right government.
That’s great news for Poland’s LGBTQ+ community, which has been increasingly demonized in recent years. According to a study, Poland is the worst country in the European Union to be gay, ahead of only Romania and Bulgaria.
“After eight years of horrible right-wing government that was targeting the LGBT minority like never before, now we wake up to this reality,” said Bart Straszewski, one of Poland’s most notable LGBTQ+ activists.
While that’s cause for celebration in and of itself, Poland’s gay community has another reason to be grateful this week.
Meet Łukasz Litewka, a new member of parliament representing the country’s left-wing alliance, Lewica.
Doesn’t he just look like freedom?!
Litewka, 30, caught the public’s eye with an innovative and kind-hearted social media campaign centered around homeless dogs. Some of his campaign posters even advertised dogs who need adopting.
“When designing my media, I noticed a lot of unused space,” he posted on Instagram, courtesy of Google Translate. “Instead of political leaders, I invited those who should have been elected a long time ago.
“Dora, Lili, Misiek and 7 other four-legged friends.”
Three opposing parties promising to restore Poland’s democratic institutions won 54% of the vote, giving them a plurality. The ruling Law and Justice party, which has been sliding Poland into authoritarianism over the last eight years, garnered 35% of the vote.
Though Law and Justice was the single party with the most votes, they still lost their majority in parliament. The opposition leader who won the election, former Prime Minister Donald Tusk, says he wants to return to his old post.
Election turnout was massive, with 72.9% of Polish people voting. It was the highest turnout since 1989, when voters toppled the country’s communist regime.
And the credit goes to the country’s young people. Exit polls found that a higher proportion of 18 to 29-year-olds came out to vote than people over 60.
Many of those votes went for Lewica, which is considered more left-wing than the other two main opposition parties, the centrist Civic Coalition and Third Way.
It’s expected those three parties will form a coalition, assuming Poland’s right-wing president, Andrzej Duda, follows his constitutional duty and proposes a new prime minister acceptable to the opposition majority (where have we seen this kind of thing before)?
As for Litewka, the former city councilor promises to carry a strong voice. He enjoys more than 60,000 followers on Instagram, and it’s fair to say many of them are admirers.
Oh he can bury the lede— radek (@RadekCdydd) October 17, 2023
🤭— Gohahwei (@Gohahwei1) October 17, 2023
This has reached international gay news QUICK 💅— Dr Aleksandra Gajowy (she/her) (@DrAGajowy) October 17, 2023
It can’t be overstated how important Sunday’s results are for LGBTQ+ people in Poland. They’ve been subjected to dehumanizing discrimination in recent years, including the development of supposed “LGBT-free zones.”
For the first time in nearly 10 years, there is hope for gay people in Poland. Litewka is the perfect poster child for these changing times.
Come to mention it, he would look pretty good on a poster, huh?