Who Got Egged At Poland’s EuroPride?

Last year in Zurich, an estimated 50,000 revelers marched in EuroPride. This year in Poland’s capital Warsaw, just 8,000 took part. It might have something to do with all the riot police required to fend off the “clusters of jeering, egg-throwing youths.” But it was still a long way from when Lech Kaczynski, the mayor of Warsaw before becoming president (and dying in a plane crash) banned it outright.

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  • Max

    Eastern Europe (after communist rules) is a very homophobic region. I live in Russia, and this country is a hell for gays!

  • L.

    Unfortunately, the same things happen in many former-bloc countries indeed.

    Why is any place allowed into the EU until they treat their citizens with, if not full equality (few do already), then at least a modicum of respect and protection, I’ll never know.

  • Frank Amsterdam

    @L: “Why is any place allowed into the EU until they treat their citizens with, if not full equality (few do already), then at least a modicum of respect and protection, I’ll never know.”

    Not trying – as a Dutch man – to be smug or anything, but why is any state in the USA – freest country of the world as they self-proclaim – allowed to discriminate against gays (LGBTQ)?

    We fight the same battle here in the EU.
    And please do not forget that “the wall” came down only in 1989, a mere 21 year ago. Consider that the Eastern European countries – behind the Iron Curtain – were communist dictatorships only two decades ago, before they all fell apart (and startign to rebuild). The European Parliament has already submitted a motion to suspend Lithuania because of it’s homophobic regime.
    Since the wall came down, Eastern European Countries embraced their religion as a source of morality – rings a bell? – so, hence the homophobia.
    Having a ‘free’ Gay Pride in Poland where the authorities have arrested right wing youths who protested, is a big forward in my book. Little progress, I agree, but there is.
    The EU also contains Malta, where straight married folks cannot even divorce!
    There is much to gain, and as long as they are in the EU, they will be – able to being – influenced. As soon as they are out, what leverage is there?

    I understand that we, the EU people, know much more about the USA than the other way around. So please get yourself some background on – the countries in the – EU.
    The EU court of Human Rights is clear about this issue: no discrimination whatsoever. But, like in the USA, countries (in your case states) have their our sovereignty in these matters.
    Well get there eventually, I am sure. But how will you get there with DOMA, ENDA, DADT, PROP_H8 still on the table?
    (You know any EU equivalent acronyms? No, because there aren’t any. We know yours by heart).
    Any discrimination our violence against any non-protected minority is an offence (Arizona, anyone?). The EU tries to get towards more civil rights. And just pointing a finger at the bad guys does not help. Getting religion out of the equation might. Just as in your good ol’ USA.

  • Paschal

    The European Union and the completely separate Council of Europe have done much for human rights in Europe although not enough. Events such as the one above remind us that progress can and does happen whem the will is there.

  • Frank Amsterdam

    @Paschal: I agree. But while religion – The Word Of God – is still used against us, it’s quite difficult. And, the emergence of Islam in the EU, and thr counter-emergency of Christian fundamentalist, does not make it any easier either.
    At least we in The Netherlands have equal rights, but then again, still gay couples and transgenders are bullied out of their neighbourhoods. Bugger.

  • L.

    @Frank Amsterdam: I allow myself to criticize the EU (while still recognizing its merits) *precisely* because I am a citizen of, and live in, the EU.

  • L.

    (Mind you, even if I were an American, that wouldn’t mean my criticism of the EU wouldn’t be founded, or valid. US bigotry cannot be an excuse for any EU complacency.)

  • Frank Amsterdam

    @L.: I agree fully: there’s a lot to be done, L.

  • Brian Miller

    I understand that we, the EU people, know much more about the USA than the other way around.

    I certainly wouldn’t say that as a Yank who lived in several EU countries for a number of years. That doesn’t stop folks from making the assertion though, while telling me I must be “internationally educated” because I don’t speak with a “typical American” (southern) accent. :)

    The reality is that the EU is primarily an economic project. For all the righteous “more progressive than thou” rhetoric that comes from the European Union aimed at the States, Canada and Australia, they’ll happily trade away civil liberties for cash just like the Americans they abhor.

  • Richard Queripel

    I was at the EuroPride march in Warsaw on Saturday, marching with the London Gay Men’s Chorus. We performed at a gala concert on the Friday night and then proudly sang and cheered as we marched. Sadly we also dodged rocks, eggs and Bibles, launched from the sidelines by the usual bigots. Despite the attacks (one of our choir members was hit in the head with a rock and several were followed and intimidated later in the day after the march had finished), the march felt like an absolute triumph. Although official figures say there were only 8,000 people marching it felt like triple that number, and there was a lot of support from the side of the street too. It was so heartening to see brave Poles willing to stand up and declare their support for LGBT rights. The police protection of us marchers was excellent. It appeared that they’d drafted in hundreds of back-room admin staff to line the entire route, sporting fluorescent jackets, with the riot police placed in strategic locations behind them. I saw one scary-looking skinhead being dragged off a park bench by police as we walked past. Someone said he had shouted something at us, others thought he’d been on the phone, possibly co-ordinating a counter-protest. Whatever he’d been up to, the police dealt with him quickly and effectively.

    It felt liberating being there and also extremely depressing that hatred can be so ingrained in people. I am proud to have been one of the 8,000. Let’s just hope that when EuroPride isn’t there next year, there’ll still be a march and things will continue to move forward.

    Read more about the march in my blog:


  • scott ny'er

    @Richard Queripel: Dude. Big kudos to you and your friends for your courage to march in Warsaw.

  • Ivars

    Although my relatives and friends back in Latvia are very supportive of my partner and I, there still is a lot of homophobia there.

  • Frank Amsterdam

    @Richard Queripel: Congrats! Fabulous you stood up! Very well done, indeed.

  • TommyOC

    @Frank Amsterdam: The point I think you’re missing in the US/EU analogy is that the EU supposedly has strict guidelines for the conditions under which you are admitted into their club. Human rights conditions is one of them. It’s written into your charter, is it not?

    The US has several requirements for statehood – but human rights records has historically not been among them. (Wiki “Missouri Compromise”)

    I’m not going to go far with a tit-for-tat, but I’ll just casually mention that, in the US, mob violence against gays hasn’t been an issue in nearly 30 years. This happens every summer in the EU… and not just in former bloc states!

  • Jaroslaw

    TommyOC – you beat me to it. I was going to say that. yes, the EU is supposedly something you have to meet the criteria BEFORE getting in.

    As a person of Polish descent, it is a shame that once again, the discriminated against (often) do the most discriminating. (re: Warsaw pride negativity)

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