A gay couple in Poland handed out hundreds of rainbow face masks to fight coronavirus and homophobia in the country’s “LGBT-free zones.”
The country is currently considering a law about sex education that equates homosexuality with pedophilia. Previously, a third of the nation declared itself to be “LGBT-free zones” amid growing hostility toward LGBTQ+ people from the country’s dominant political party.
Gay couple Jakub Kwiecinski and Dawid Mycek decided to use the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to spread a positive message about their community. “They call us a plague, so we took it to heart and decided to infect something,” the couple wrote in a YouTube video.
Amid a worldwide face mask shortage, Kwiecinski and Mycek borrowed a sewing machine and sewed over 300 masks out of rainbow cotton. They handed out the masks to people on the streets of Gdańsk, Gdynia, and Sopot. They’re also selling extra rainbow masks and using the profit to sew more masks for Polish hospitals.
“Basic protection measures are lacking, and masks have become scarce products,” the couple said in the video. “That is why we made our masks and we will give them out to people.”
The YouTube video shows the couple handing out all 300 masks to strangers. People’s reactions are overwhelmingly positive, despite a few hesitations.
“It’s rainbow, and I know you are an ally,” Kwiecinski said while handing a mask to one man.
“I’m not against it,” the man said.
Kwiecinski told Star Observer, “Many LGBT-free zones were created in our country so we were a bit afraid how people would react but they were really touched by our idea. I think they really appreciated that someone cared about their health. It was great to see that the rainbow didn’t scare people but will help them stay safe.”
He added, “Many Polish people call us a plague, so we thought if we help people overcome real plague, they might change their minds. I know it’s naive, but if we can do something good then why not?”