President writes to foreign media about his LGBT statements

Andrzej Duda/Twitter

President Andrzej Duda on Sunday responded to foreign criticism of his statements about the LGBT minority at a Saturday election rally in Brzeg, south-western Poland. His words, which criticised 'LGBT ideology,' evoked hefty criticism from Poland's opposition and foreign media.

In an English-language statement on Twitter to the Reuters and Associated Press (AP) news agencies, a US daily and two British newspapers, Duda said his words had been taken out of context and declared that he believed in diversity and equality. He noted, however, that minority beliefs could not be imposed on a majority under the guise of tolerance.

"Yet again, as part of dirty political fight, my words are put out of context. I truly believe in diversity and equality. At the same time beliefs of any minority cannot be imposed on a majority under the false pretense of tolerance. In our times Truth has become a scared little creature that hides from much stronger Correctness (...). I believe in tolerance to any views, so please stop distributing fake news."

At the meeting in Brzeg, Duda criticised what he described as "LGBT ideology," and said its teaching in schools resembled communist indoctrination.

"Throughout the entire communist era children were smothered with communist ideology. That was Bolshevism. Today there are also attempts to indoctrinate us and our children with ideology, only a different ideology, a completely new one. This is a kind of neo-Bolshevism," Duda said in Brzeg. He also remarked that "we are told that LGBT is about people, but it's about ideology," and argued that many homosexuals did not identify with the LGBT movement.

Duda also mentioned his Wednesday introduction of a Family Card of election proposals, which included a vow to prevent gay marriages and adoptions, and ban LGBT issues from school programmes. In this context, he stated that his parents' generation had fought to ban communist ideology from schools, and observed that "they didn't fight for this so that a new ideology would appear that is even more destructive."

Duda also assured that he respected all people, but he "will not allow children to be ideologised," because as president he felt "responsible for Poland and Poland's youth."

The words evoked hefty criticism from some of the Polish opposition and was broadly commented by foreign media.

Referring to Duda's statements, the Reuters news agency wrote that "Poland's president compared LGBT 'ideology' to communist doctrine in a campaign speech on Saturday, as LGBT rights become a hotly debated issue ahead of a June 28 presidential election in the staunchly Catholic country."

Commenting on Duda's closeness to Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, the agency noted that "President Andrzej Duda is an ally of the ruling nationalist Law and Justice Party (PiS), which dismisses the promotion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights as a foreign influence undermining Poland's traditional values."

In its commentary on the matter, AP wrote that "Polish President Andrzej Duda accused the LGBT rights movement Saturday of promoting a viewpoint more harmful than communism." The agency also cited Duda's agreement with a Polish conservative politician's words that "LGBT is not people, it's an ideology."

AP also wrote that according to Polish gays, lesbians and liberals, the Polish government and Duda were "adopting a language of dehumanisation" and targeting homosexuals to secure the support of the Catholic Church and conservative voters ahead of the presidential election.

Britain's The Guardian daily opined that gay rights and homophobia will probably be a leading theme in Poland's forthcoming presidential election. The daily also compared Poland's ban on LGBT ideology to Russia's ban on "gay propaganda."

On Sunday, Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bak from Poland's The Left opposition group accused leading Polish politicians of "shameful words" about the LGBT minority and voiced her solidarity with LGBT people.

According to Catholic journalist and independent presidential candidate Szymon Holownia, a president who denied human rights to homosexuals could not be a president of "diverse Poles."

"A president of diverse Poles is not a president who says that homosexuals have no human rights, but one who knows that heterosexuals, homosexuals and people with other psychosexual identities are people, are citizens of the Republic of Poland," Holownia said at a Sunday election rally in Tczew, northern Poland.

Commenting on the matter on Sunday, presidential aide Pawel Mucha stated that there were no signs of any discrimination against homosexuals or violations of minority rights in Poland.

Government spokesperson Piotr Müller accused some of the LGBT community of aggressive attempts to influence the school curriculum, and said this evoked resistance. He added, however, that there were "no intentions of pointing a finger at anyone" and assured that everyone in Poland was equal regardless of sexual orientation, colour or religion.

Commenting on LGBT content in schools, Müller said that "the idea is for there to be freedom of choice in this sphere, that's all."