It's almost impossible to ignore the recent trend of homophobic violence in Poland—which, according to the State Department, has the distinction of being one of the Top Ten Worst Countries for Gays. (But let's not even talk this country or even Secretary Rice's record on gays.) Let's introduce you to one of the most influential leaders in Poland's fight for gay equality:
Krystian Legierski is a Polish-born black gay activist. He is 27 years old and the owner of Le Madame, the influential Warsaw club that was recently shut down by the government. From a recent article in The Gully: "In addition to being the hub of Poland's queer culture, offering plays, music and performance art, Le Madame hosted a wide array of other counter-cultural, avant-garde, and political events. The Warsaw Green Party, for example, had its offices on the club's first floor."
Legierski is also one of the leaders of the Greens and has been targeted by a relentless hate campaign based upon his skin color, such as leaflets at one march that read "Krystian Legierski: fag and nigger. How much worse can you get?" Poland's current president—the very homophobic Lech Kaczynski—was formerly the mayor of Warsaw and refused to meet with the activist and used a few choice slurs to describe Legierski.
We first came across Krystian Legierski via Doug Ireland's informative Warsaw dispatches in the Gay City News. It's amazing that Krystian is fighting for gay equality in a country where so many of his compatriots even refuse to recognize him as a fellow Polish citizen. (Read comments here.) Just to imagine what his daily life must be like ... wow, it almost makes our life over here seem like a cakewalk.
A Polish Stonewall? (Gay City News)
Police Attack Le Madame, Expel Occupants (DIreland)
Top 10 Worst Countries For Gays (Queerty)
Warsaw's "Le Madame" Shut Down (The Gully)
Warsaw, Poland, Police Shut Gay Club (Free Republic)
Violence Erupts at Krakow March (Towleroad)