Two years ago, a conservative religious town in Poland decided to jump into the culture wars by declaring itself “free of L.G.B.T.” They’re finally realizing that celebrating bigotry has consequences.
The town of Krasnik passed a symbolic resolution two years ago to eradicate what it claimed was LGBTQ ideology, whatever the hell that means. Plenty of people assumed that was a blanket ban on LGBTQ people, which wasn’t the case, but the message was clear: Openly LGBTQ people weren’t welcome in that community.
The New York Times‘ Andrew Higgins reports that the mayor now wishes he could take it all back:
A French town last year severed a partnership with Krasnik in protest. And Norway, from which the mayor had hoped to get nearly $10 million starting this year to finance development projects, said in September that it would not give grants to any Polish town that declares itself “free of L.G.B.T.”
“We have become Europe’s laughingstock, and it’s the citizens not the local politicians who’ve suffered most,” lamented [Mayor Wojciech] Wilk, who is now lobbying councilors to repeal the resolution that put the town’s 32,000 residents in the middle of a raucous debate over traditional and modern values.
Maybe the most telling consequence? Young people are getting the hell out of town, recognizing that they don’t want to grow up in a hateful place:
Krasnik’s mayor said he worried that unless his town’s “free of L.G.B.T.” status is rescinded, he has little chance of securing foreign funds to finance electric buses and youth programs, which he said are particularly important because young people keep leaving.
None of this happened because LGBTQ people were doing anything that needed to be stopped. The leaders in Krasnik simply followed the lead of the nation’s governing (conservative) Law and Justice party as well as the Catholic Church. And if you’re looking to right-wing politicians or bigoted religious institutions for advice on the future, no one should be surprised when the plan backfires.
While they’re not repealing the resolution just yet, it’s not like it would matter if they did it later on either; the damage is done. The town is a symbol of faith-based hate. It’s a punchline that’s not funny. To make amends, they’ll have to do a hell of a lot more than try to undo the past.
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