A conservative weekly news publication in Poland is planning to include “LGBT-free zone” stickers with next week’s issue.
Gazeta Polska announced the move via Twitter Wednesday, NBC News reports. There was immediate backlash, online and elsewhere.
“I am disappointed and concerned that some groups use stickers to promote hatred and intolerance,” U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher tweeted. “We respect freedom of speech, but we must stand together on the side of values such as diversity and tolerance.” (Mosbacher was once the stepmother to Dee Mosbacher, who is lesbian; Georgette was the third wife of Dee’s father, the late Robert Mosbacher, an official in the George H.W. Bush administration.)
Tomasz Sakiewicz, editor of Gazeta Polska, responded that “being an activist in the gay movement does not make anyone more tolerant,” the BBC reports.
Warsaw’s deputy mayor, Paweł Rabiej, said he plans to file a complaint with the local prosecutor’s office over the matter. “German fascists created Jew-free zones,” he tweeted. “Apartheid, of black. As you can see this tradition finds worthy followers, this time in Poland.”
“This is fascism officially introduced in Poland,” Paulina Młynarska, a Polish actress and columnist, wrote on Twitter. “Nonheterosexual people are around 10 percent or more in every society. What’s next? Rainbow armbands? Camps?”
Gazeta Polska is supportive of Poland’s ruling party, Law and Justice, which is ultraconservative, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant, NBC News notes. It has strong support in rural parts of the country. Poland is heavily Roman Catholic, and homophobic attitudes are pervasive although abating somewhat.