Posts Tagged 'Poland'

Campaign Against Homophobia Issues New Report on Social Situation of LGBT Persons in Poland

Report on Social Situation of LGBT persons in PolandCampaign Against Homophobia has issued a new report on social situation of LGBT persons in Poland. This unique publication shows results of the biggest in Poland quantative research conducted on the group of 14,000 gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trangender persons. The questions pertain to spheres of life such as education, work and family life in the context of discrimination or the influence of non-heterosexual orientation on social functioning.

Download the report here.

Judy and Dennis Shepard Speak Up for LGBT Rights in Europe

Judy and Dennis Shepard Speak Up for LGBT Rights in EuropeRepost from DipNote Blog by Frankie Sturm, Deputy Cultural Attache at U.S. Embassy Warsaw in Poland.

Sitting down to dinner to wrap up two jam-packed days of outreach by Judy and Dennis Shepard in Poland to parents of LGBT individuals, non-governmental organizations, parliamentarians, TV reporters, and others, I was struck by how universally their story resonates even thousands of miles from the United States.

As co-founders of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, Judy and Dennis have worked tirelessly to expand LGBT rights and protections through the legal system, while changing hearts and minds by telling the tragic story of their son’s murder due to hate and intolerance.

The State Department is proud to be sponsoring the Shepards on a five-country, two week-plus European outreach trip. The Shepards’ tour includes stops in Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, and Germany. Continue Reading

 

First openly transgender Member of Parliament elected

Anna Grodzka

photo: Getty Images

Repost from Transgender Europe

On October 10th, we have learned that Anna Grodzka, president of TGEU member organization Trans-Fuzja, has become the first openly transgender woman to be elected into Polish parliament.

Grodzka, who has been working for transgender and intersex issues for more than 4 years now, was a candidate of the Palikot Movement, a new political party which has come forward with progressive ideas especially on LGBTQI matters during elections.

“This is an incredible step forward for Poland” says Wiktor Dynarski, TGEU CEE Working Group coordinator. “We were aware of the fact that Anna’s decision to actually become a candidate would bring a lot more discussion on transgender issues into Polish politics, but we have never even dreamt of achieving such an incredible success!” Continue reading ‘First openly transgender Member of Parliament elected’

Gay diplomat presses LGBT issues at int’l conference

photo: OSCE/Curtis Budden

Washington Blade | Chris Johnson | Oct 21, 2010

A gay diplomat led a U.S. delegation at an international conference earlier this month that touched on the importance of LGBT rights as a human rights issue.

Michael Guest, former U.S. ambassador to Romania, headed a delegation of about 25 U.S. diplomats during the human rights portion of an annual review conference for the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe. The review conference took place between Sept. 30 and Oct. 8 in Warsaw, Poland.

The Warsaw Review Conference was a primer engagement for trans-Atlantic countries to discuss human rights principles — including hate crimes against LGBT people and the freedom to association to have Pride celebrations across the globe — in anticipation of a later OSCE summit that this year is set to take place in December in Astana, Kazakhstan.

In an interview with the Washington Blade, Guest said that his sexual orientation made his designation as head of the delegation representational of the Obama administration’s stated principle that international LGBT rights are human rights.

“I also think that it made an impact with other delegations,” Guest added. “It was clearly a prominent feature of my biography, so there were a number of delegation members that come and it’s representative in their eyes as a sense of progress that an openly gay man would be appointed.”

Still, Guest said he thinks his 26-year service as a diplomat was the primary reason he was selected for the position and noted that during much of his career he focused on OSCE policy.

“I dealt with it at the time when all these changes were happening in Europe in 1989, 1990 and 1991 and when most of the commitments on fundamental freedoms and human rights were signed by the newly independent countries of the former Soviet Union and the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe,” he said.

Guest attained notoriety in 2007 when he retired from the State Department in protest because it didn’t offer certain benefits — such as security training and free medical care — to the same-sex partners of Foreign Service officers. The situation has since been rectified by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality, which took part in the review conference as an non-governmental organization, said the selection of an out gay man to lead the U.S. delegation was significant because previous administrations have been reluctant to incorporate LGBT issues in foreign policy.

“The United States in the past has been reluctant to address LGBT concerns within this forum,” Bromley said. “I think the fact that they selected Michael Guest as someone who is openly gay and works with organizations that promote issues on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity was an important statement.” continue reading story

Discussion to Combat Hate Crimes and Promote Tolerance and Non-discrimination

 

Michael Gues | photo: OSCE/Curtis Budden

 

Warsaw, Poland, October 6, 2010 – During a discussion of efforts to combat hate crimes and promote tolerance and non-discrimination at an international human rights conference of the OSCE (which includes all of Europe and North America), the head of the U.S. delegation, former U.S. Ambassador and Council adviser Michael Guest, put aside his official statement to speak directly to delegates “from the heart.”  He offered a very personal and very forceful appeal to collected governments to implement effective hate crimes protections for all minority communities, including LGBT individuals.  He noted his personal experience as the victim of a gay hate crime, and he reminded diplomats in the room that the commitments they make have profound, daily consequences in the lives of ordinary people.  At the end of the meeting, in response to a hostile NGO that equated homosexuality with pedophilia and necrophilia, Guest noted how offensive such a connection was, and that such inflammatory allegations are in fact the sorts of statements that can lead to hate crimes.

While much of the meeting focused on hate crimes directed at religious and ethnic minorities, several other governments joined Guest in condemning LGBT violence, as did several NGOs.  As a civil society representative, Mark Bromley, speaking for the Council for Global Equality and joined by two Europe-based LGBT organizations, called on all governments that have not already done so to adopt hate crimes laws that recognize LGBT bias as an aggravating circumstance with enhanced and effective penalties.  Invoking the year-old Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the United States, and honoring the memory of Matthew Shepard, who was brutally assaulted twelve years ago this week, Bromley noted that “today, Matthew’s murder is recognized as a national tragedy; the fact that similar tragedies have been repeated so often across the entire OSCE region is a shameful reality.”  A representative of Amulet, an LGBT organization from Kazakhstan, also called on the OSCE to address targeted violence against LGBT communities in Central Asia.

Redeemed Lives, a U.S. organization, took the floor to speak against this “over-broad” human rights agenda.  Their representative spoke earlier in the two-week meeting to declare that “for some, freedom to safely self-identify as gay or lesbian is emancipation. For others, like myself, freedom from unwanted same‐sex attraction is emancipation.” Redeemed Lives suggested that “over-broad” definitions of hate speech and “fixed” definitions of gender identity have impeded the ability of individuals “to find therapists equipped to help them” overcome homosexuality, noting that “unwanted sexual attractions can . . . be effectively resisted and changed.” While others also spoke against the broad recognition of LGBT rights, including the NGO delegate who suggested the connection to pedophilia and necrophilia, these were tragically fringe statements, raised in the face of the OSCE’s effort to address LGBT violence as part of its broad tolerance and non-discrimination work.


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