Poland's first openly gay and
transgender parliamentarians protested former president Lech Walesa's
recent anti-gay remarks.
Walesa, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate,
made the remarks during a nationally televised interview.
Walesa said in the interview that he
believes gay people should be barred from politics. Gay people, he
said, had no right to sit on the front benches in parliament. If
present, they should sit in the back, “or even behind a wall.”
“[T]hey have to know that they are a
minority and adjust to smaller things, and not rise to the greatest
heights. A minority should not impose itself on the majority.”
He added that he does not agree with
gay rights and would not want his children or grandchildren to be
exposed to gay people in public.
According to the Guardian, the
parliament's LGBT members, Robert Biedron, who is openly gay, and
Anna Grodzka, who is openly transgender, were moved on Wednesday to
the front row of the assembly, positions usually reserved for party
“Lech Walesa is an important symbol
for us all and for the whole word,” Biedron told the AP. “I
respect him and I'd rather he used other words – words of
acceptance and of respect for other people.”
The 69-year-old Walesa, an electrician
by trade, became an iconic figure in the trade-union movement,
co-founding Solidarity, the Soviet bloc's first independent trade
union, in 1980.