[PRESS INFORMATION, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE] "Homophobia, this is what it looks like!" - Polish gay rights organization launches its social ad campaign in Warsaw 28-02-07, Campaign Against Homophobia, a well-known Polish LGBT organization, has launched its social ad campaign within the framework of the anti-homophobia action week of Council of Europe's initiative All Different All Equal. The campaign will bring two editions of posters to the streets of Warsaw, with the aim to provoke citizens to feel the level of pressure and hatred that surrounds lesbians and gays and their friends and families every day. The campaigns teaser posters "What are you staring at, faggot!?" and "What are you staring at, dyke!?" are used as a symbolic summary of all the wide-spread forms of homophobia in Poland today – regular hate-speech from the leading politicians, growing intolerance and exclusion by the other groups of society, negative stereotyping by the media etc. The teasers are to evoke the feeling of being attacked, being insulted and create an understanding of what are the effects of homophobia and the whole campaign aims to combat negative attitudes and intolerance towards lesbians and gays. Robert Biedron, president of Campaign Against Homophobia, says: “We have received a lot of reactions from the citizens of Warsaw, at first people thought this is a campaign of a far-right League of Polish Families party and this is a good proof of showing that such language is known to belong to a government party.” . Biedron also says that the teasers are doing exactly what they are to do – making people feel shocked and insulted. “This is the feeling which lesbians and gays in Poland experience every day. When the president of Poland goes to Dublin and claims that homosexuality will lead us to the end of civilization, does it shock and insult me? Absolutely. When a leading politician of a government party claims that all homosexuals are paedophiles, is that shocking? Without a doubt. There are plenty of such and even more blatant examples of homophobia from the past years. Now we have these posters up in the city, and I must say that I am proud of the people that have been calling to Clearchannel [provider of surfaces for posters] to demand these posters to be taken down because they offend gays and lesbians. This tells us that in fact people do not accept homophobia, and the views of Roman Giertych [Minister of Education, far-right League of Polish Families] or Jaroslaw Kaczynski [Prime Minister of Poland] are not representing the views of Poles.” One of the aims of the campaign is also to encourage the citizens to speak up against homophobia more, not only in the extreme cases. “We as a society have a responsibility to protect the different groups within, and speaking out against all forms of prejudices, intolerance and discrimination is our most honourable task,” says Biedron, “we should not wait until we have more and more data on hate crimes or discrimination cases, we should react now to prevent all these things from happening.”. The main posters of the campaign will be seen on the streets of Warsaw from March 5th which is also the opening date for an exhibition on collected pieces of homophobia – newspaper articles, magazine covers, news clips and much more. All of the presented materials are collected over the past years and are in a way or another symbolically highlighting the amount of hatred and prejudices that gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trans-people and their families and friends are surrounded by. Sentences like “we will manage without tolerance,”; “when faggots begin to demonstrate, they should be beaten with sticks,” are part of the average every-day language of Polish politicians, officials and even government members. The exhibition picks out these examples from around us, puts them on a wall, and makes it impossible to pretend that such things do not happen and homophobia is not a problem in Poland. IN SHORT - Social ad campaign and an exhibition of collected pieces of homophobia in Poland - “Homophobia, this is what it looks like!”In Warsaw, Poland, from February 26-March 14, within the framework of All Different All Equal campaign of Council of Europe. ON THE ORGANIZER -Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH) is a nation-wide LGBT organization with branches in 7 cities over Poland. KPH has been actively involved in anti-discrimination work since 2001, and has mainly been focusing on public opinion, political advocacy and policy development work in relation to LGBT matters in Poland. MEDIA CONTACTS -For Polish press - Robert Biedron, President of Campaign Against Homophobia, +48 600 950 339, firstname.lastname@example.org For international press - Lisette Kampus, European Relations officer, +48 888 550 244, email@example.com PRESS CONFERENCE: March 5th, 12:00 in Austrian Culture Forum (Prozna Street 8, Warsaw)
EXHIBITION OPENING: March 5th, 18:00 in Austrian Culture Forum (Prozna Street 8, Warsaw)
FATHER:WHAT'S A DYKE? "What are you staring at, faggot?", "What are you staring at, dyke". KPH, along with their president Robert Biedron, want to use these phrases to enlighten us on how much gays and lesbians are discriminated in Poland. They're found on posters around the city. Driving around the city with my kids in the back seat, I am nervously waiting for the day when my 10 yr old son and 7 yr old daughter will ask: "Dad, what does 'dyke' mean?" In preparation I've started to prepare the answer. And I just can't come up with the answer. Maybe Mr. Biedron can come up with the answer, maybe he has a ready-made formula. Or maybe the Council of Europe, which came up with the "awareness raising" idea, will publish a textbook for heterosexual parents called „How to get kids used to the word ‘dyke’”.
As an opponent of any sort of pornography in public space, whether visual or verbal, I would like an end to the attack of dykes, fags, as well as naked butts in Palmer underwear ads or breasts spilling out of Playboy billboards. If anyone is discriminated in Poland, then that includes children who are not able to leave the house so that they won’t be exposed to some nasty photos or vulgar statements.
A couple more of these “homocampaigns” and I will myself begin to clarify to my son what “dyke” and “faggot” mean. But then my explanation will rather not be the one Mr. Biedron has in mind.