A new anti-LGBTQ+ bill in Poland equates homosexuality with pedophilia and effectively seeks to ban sex education in public schools.
The “Stop Pedophilia” bill would punish people who “promote underage sex” in schools with up to three years in jail. According to the authors of the bill, sex educators are often people who “groom and familiarize children with homosexuality.”
“The organizations and activists most involved in the promotion of sexual ‘education’ in our country are the LGBT+ lobby,” the bill’s backers said to parliament, per Reuters. “In Western Europe, members of these movements involved in implementing sex education in schools were convicted of pedophilia.”
Also, the bill’s authors claimed that “children are sexually awakened and familiarized with homosexuality” during sex education lessons, which are “used by the LGBT lobby to achieve radical political goals.”
On Thursday, parliament voted against rejecting the bill. It will now be sent to a parliamentary commission for further work.
Activists say the bill is dangerous for sex educators, LGBTQ+ people, and LGBTQ+ youth alike.
“This would make impossible for us as educators to come into schools and teach kids about humans, about what makes us us, and what’s gender identity or sexual orientation,” Ola Kaczorek, LGBTQ+ advocate and president of the Love Does Not Exclude Association, told Reuters. “Usually school is not a friendly environment for non-heterosexual kids, but now it will be even harder.”
A third of Poland previously declared itself to be an “LGBT-free zone.” Same-sex marriage is illegal in the conservative country, and violence against LGBTQ+ people has become a growing problem. In February, a conservative group freely drove vans around the country with banners and loudspeakers, saying: “Pedophilia is 20 times more common in homosexuals. They want to teach your children. Stop them!”
Still, thousands of Polish residents defied the COVID-19 lockdown to protest the “Stop Pedophilia” bill from their cars and other places, according to Amnesty International Poland (via Reuters).
Kazcorek says the parliament’s decision doesn’t necessarily signal support for the bill, but instead could mean that the government doesn’t want to anger some lobby groups. “We can relax for the time being, then,” she said.