History has been made in Poland, which now has its first openly gay elected official. Thirty-two-year-old Krystian Legierski was elected to the Warsaw City Council in the November 21 election.
Longtime Rod 2.0 readers should remember Legierski's story from 2006. The Polish-born Black gay activist and lawyer is the owner of Le Madame, the influential Warsaw nightclub that was shut down by the rabidly anti-gay government of late President Mayor Lech Kaczynski. From the French-language Courier International via Google translation:
"The last local elections, November 21, Krystian Legierski, 32, a trained lawyer, appeared as a member of the Greens (Zielona 2004), the list of Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) in the residential Mokotow, obtaining 5,279 votes, or 6.19%. 'The inhabitants of Warsaw were ready for a long time to elect a gay man said, but politicians put a stop to many things, including the emancipation of homosexuals,' he told the daily Gazeta Wyborcza just after the announcement of results."
"I can’t compare myself to Harvey Milk, but I’m glad that I am the first openly gay candidate to be elected for a public office in Poland," the newly-elected city council member told Polskie Radio. Before the election, Legierski "even considered" running as Warsaw mayor, adds Gazeta Warszawa.
Poland's late president—the very homophobic Lech Kaczynski—was formerly the mayor of Warsaw and refused to meet with the activist and used a few choice racial slurs to describe Legierski. (Kaczynski died last April in an airplane crash.) Legierski discussed the intersections of race and sexuality in his election: "In Poland there are so few blacks that nobody has ever done research on how many there are. It would not pay to do it. But without a black-emancipation movement, and without a strong organization of sexual minorities, after just 20 years of democracy, we have achieved what elsewhere sometimes took generations. Poland showed its tolerant and nondiscriminatory face."
Poland becomes the most recent Eastern European nation to elect a Black to public office. On October 25, a Ghanaian-born doctor won local elections in Slovenia's coastal town of Piran, becoming Slovenia's first black mayor. Russia elected its first Black elected official in July, a city councilman north of Moscow.
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Meet Krystian Legierski