A conservative weekly newspaper in
Poland this week announced that it would include “LGBT-free zone”
stickers with its next issue.
Gazeta Polska, which strongly
backs the country's ruling Law and Justice Party (PIS), made the
announcement on Wednesday.
The stickers feature a crossed-out
rainbow flag. The rainbow or Pride flag is a symbol of the LGBT
U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette
Mosbacher responded in a tweet: “I am disappointed and concerned
that some groups use stickers to promote hatred and intolerance. We
respect freedom of speech, but we must stand together on the side of
values such as diversity and tolerance.”
In 2015, anti-migrant rhetoric helped
the Law and Justice Party come to power. With elections scheduled in
the fall, the party has focused its attention on countering what its
officials call Western “LGBT ideology.”
According to the
the party has pushed for declarations proclaiming cities and
provinces “LGBT-ideology free.”
During an appearance on Polish TV,
Gazeta Polska Editor-in-Chief Tomasz Sakiewicz said that the
stickers were in “opposition to the forceful imposition of LGBT
ideology,” CNN reported.
Hubert Sobecki, co-president of LGBT
rights advocate Love Does Not Exclude, described the campaign as a
“call to violence.”
“We've witnessed a huge,
ultra-conservative backlash since the beginning of this year, with
the entire government propaganda machine targeting the LGBT community
here in Poland, and scapegoating us as the public enemy," he
told CNN. "But this is certainly something new, and seems to
be crossing the line of hate speech."