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Gdańsk & Częstochowa Poland’s LGBTQ marches had heavy police guard

In Gdańsk officials estimated there were approximately 3,500 participants protected by nearly 1,000 uniformed police & security forces.

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Sopot's vice-mayor (right) Magdalena Czarzyńska-Jachim and fellow marchers (Photo credit: Facebook page of Magdalena Czarzyńska-Jachim)

CZESTOCHOWA, Poland – Two separate LGBTQ Equality marches known as marsze równości were held Saturday under a heavy police presence in the southern city of Częstochowa and the Baltic seaside port city of Gdańsk.

Polish media outlet RMF24, Agence France-Presse along with the Associated Press reported no major incidents or violence at either march, unlike previous year’s marches where clashes with anti-LGBTQ+ Polish nationalist, far right, conservative and catholic protesters had disrupted the marches and there were injuries inflicted. The local governments had increased their police presence to forestall incidents which would have led to violent counter protests.

In Gdańsk officials estimated that there were approximately 3 and a half thousand people, mostly young people under the age of thirty protected by nearly a thousand uniformed police and other security forces. The march in Częstochowa, which is home to a revered sacred monastery in this heavily Catholic country saw approximately 200 LGBTQ marchers.

The Częstochowa march on Saturday was a stark difference from the city’s first ever LGBTQ march in July of 2018, which was called off along half of its planned route due to the counter-protests by right-wing anti-LGBTQ extremists.

The Gdańsk march was kicked off today with a speech by the city’s mayor, Aleksandra Maria Dulkiewicz, a lawyer, who has been the city’s mayor since March 11, 2019. She addressed the marchers saying;

“Gdańsk is a rainbow today. The rainbow is a symbol that connects heaven and earth. I believe that today, during this march, there will be more to unite us than to divide us. We are all human, we all have the full right to freedom, to free elections, to democracy, to the rule of law.  Let us be equal whether we have a boyfriend or girlfriend, whether we are married or not, whether we believe in God or not, whether we go to church or not,” said Dulkiewicz who added,  “I believe that Gdańsk will show today that we can respect ourselves, because respect for other people is the most important.”

The 26-year-old head of a regional far-right youth organization in Opole, southwestern Poland, Bartlomiej Czuchnowski, who had traveled to the Częstochowa march to protest told the Associated Press; “This is a clear provocation, because LGBT circles have always been anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, you can even say. So their march in this direction, into the heart of the Polish nation, into the heart of Polish Catholicism, is an open provocation.”

A LGBTQ activist from Czestochowa, Monika Radecka, said each time she sees growing support for the human rights marches but added “still there is a large group that does not support them.”

“Whatever we, LGBT people, do is interpreted as a provocation,” Radecka told the AP.

The march in Gdańsk, in addition to the mayor, was also attended by Gdańsk City councilors, the Irish ambassador to Poland Emer O’Connell and the seaside resort city of Sopot’s vice-mayor Magdalena Czarzyńska-Jachim, who told the assembled marchers,

“Beloved, I am here because my friends are here with their families, with partners, with female partners. It’s wonderful that we are here together. I especially wanted to bow my head to the parents of transgender, non-binary and LGBT children. When I look at their daily struggle, the way of the cross, when they support their children, I am ashamed of my country. I don’t want such a Poland anymore – she said.”

From Russian State Television Outlet RUPTLY on 8 July 2018- Poland: Right-wing protesters stop Czestochowa’s first ever LGBT parade:

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French National Assembly moves to ban conversion therapy

Country’s Senate will now consider measure

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

PARIS—Members of France’s National Assembly on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy in the country.

Têtu, a French LGBTQ magazine, reports conversion therapy practitioners would face two years in prison and a €30,000 ($34,652.55) fine. Those who administer the widely discredited practice to a minor would face three years in prison and a €45,000 ($51,978.82) fine.

Practitioners could also lose their medical license for up to 10 years.

The bill, which a member of President Emmanuel Macron’s party introduced, now goes to the French Senate.

Malta is one of the handful of countries that ban conversion therapy.

Lawmakers in Finland, New Zealand and Canada are considering measures that would prohibit the practice.

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European Union

Car parking for LGBTQ diversity- instead gets lots of negativity

While some input was positive a greater majority took to social media platforms including Twitter & were uniformly negative in their reaction

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Photograph courtesy of Hanauer Parkhaus GmbH

HANAU, Germany – A German firm that manages car parking structures in this mid-size city located East of Frankfurt am Main is under criticism for its dedication of reserved parking for LGBTQ+ people and migrant drivers.

The firm, Hanauer Parkhaus GmbH, which manages contracted parking with various municipalities located in the greater Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region in Central Germany, had set aside three reserved parking spots specially for the LGBTQ drivers and migrants as they have a “special need for protection and security in public spaces,” a company official told media outlets.

The three reserved parking spots are next to each other and are near to the main exit of the multi-story parking structure. Additionally Hanauer Parkhaus had a mural of the LGBTQ Pride flag painted on the back wall and for increased security added security cameras which are monitored by its employees.

The company and the city had hoped that this move would be seen as affirming of both the LGBTQ+ community and the migrant community which are often the targets of hateful rhetoric. While some input from residents and others was positive, a greater majority who took to social media platforms including Twitter were uniformly negative in their reactions.

Translates as: “Child and old age poverty, single mothers at their financial limit, pensioners who have to live on bottle deposits and leftovers from garbage cans. But for City Councilor Thomas Morlock in Hanau there is nothing more important than setting an example for tolerance. “Three new diversity parking places.”

The former Chairwoman of the Nevada State Republican Party also weighed in:

This tweet from a user in the UK brought a litany of homophobic responses:

Some of those responses included;


[email protected]_Hero
·Replying to @BristolBlues40 and @NKrankieI’m feeling gay today, I think I will park in one of those rainbow spaces.

[email protected]·Replying to @BristolBlues40 and @SammieJack3They’re really trying to spark some ‘far-right’ action and get some nasty posts that they can use to usher in a new age of censorship

Adrian Perkinson @TheBritishChap7Replying to @MailOnlineThis screams “Discrimination”!!! At this point in time, I’m beginning to wonder if these officials are just trying to annoy the majority.

Thomas Morlock, the chairman of the board of Hanauer Parkhaus GmbH and an elected city councilor in Hanau told local media that the spaces were created as a “conspicuously colorful symbol” for “diversity and tolerance”, and that they don’t necessarily have to be used by a “separate group of people.”

Still there were more negatives expressed than positives;  “LGBT people are people, we shouldn’t be treating them differently from others. Although the intentions here are good. We’re now separating ourselves by parking spaces. Dear lord,” one local remarked on Twitter.

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European Union

Two transgender women elected to German Bundestag

New government urged to expand LGBTQ rights

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Reichstag, Berlin, Germany, gay news, Washington Blade
Activists in Germany continue to celebrate the election of two transgender women to the country's parliament. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

BERLIN — Activists in Germany continue to celebrate Sunday’s election of two transgender women to the country’s parliament.

Tessa Ganserer of the Green Party is from Bavaria. Nyke Slawik, who is also a member of the Green Party, is from North Rhine-Westphalia.

Joschua Thuir, a police inspector who is an instructor at a German Federal Police center for basic training and further education. He is also the trans ambassador of VelsPol Deutschland, an NGO that represents LGBTQ police officers in the country.

Thuir on Tuesday told the Washington Blade that Ganserer has worked with him on trainings for police officers. Thuir said Ganserer and Slawik’s election is “a really, really big opportunity for us as a trans community to have speakers now in the German Bundestag who are trans by themselves.”

“It’s much more impressive to listen to people who are in those situations instead of people who talk about people who are in those situations,” said Thuir.

Julia Monro of the German Association for Trans Identity and Intersex People agreed.

“It is a big signal to the world that Germany is a country with diversity,” she told the Blade.

Election results are ‘great opportunity’ for LGBTQ rights

Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the center-left Social Democratic Party of Germany will likely succeed long-time Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union. A coalition government will need to form because Scholz did not receive a majority of the votes in Sunday’s election.

Henry Engels of the Lesbian and Gay Association in Germany on Monday in a statement congratulated Scholz. Engels also said the election results are “a great opportunity for the improvement of LGBTI rights in Germany.”

“The increase in votes for the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany), Greens and FDP (Free Democratic Party) also shows that voters want a queer-politically progressive government,” said Engels. “We call for a government to be formed that, after the paralysis of the last legislature, now seizes the opportunity for a queer political awakening, and we expect the Greens, FDP and SPD to implement their queer political election promises. For us, only a coalition is acceptable that brings real change in a timely manner.”

The Lesbian and Gay Association specifically urged the new German government to develop “a national action plan against LGBTI hostility” and to amend Article 3 of the country’s Basic Law to specifically ban discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation throughout Germany. The Lesbian and Gay Association also called for “gender self-determination” and the admission of LGBTQ refugees into Germany.

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