Polish opposition members of parliament on Thursday formed a rainbow with their outfits at President Andrzej Duda’s swearing-in in solidarity with the LGBT community after he was accused of running a campaign laced with homophobic rhetoric.
Duda, an ally of the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, argued ahead of the July vote that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people ‘are not people, it’s an ideology’.
His words were condemned by the opposition and members of the international community.
The MPs, from Poland’s ‘Left’ grouping, donned rainbow masks and brightly-coloured outfits in shades of the rainbow, sitting in rows, as Duda was sworn in, in the lower house of parliament, the Sejm.
They also posed for photos in and outside parliament with rainbow and white and red Polish flags.
After seeing the snap circulating on Twitter, many took to the comments section to praise the MPs efforts of solidarity.
‘Andrzej Duda’s swearing-in ceremony. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your vote for The Left is a wasted vote. After all they’re the only ones who stand in solidarity with Polish LGBTQ+ people,’ wrote one, while a second penned:
‘Major love and respect to the Polish MP’s who co-ordinated their outfits to create a rainbow flag at the swearing in for their homophobic president Andrzej Duda.’
A third commented: ‘Reasons to be hopeful. A group of Polish MPs coordinated their outfits in the design of the rainbow flag at the swearing in ceremony of the homophobic President Andrzej Duda.’
‘The MPs were just metres away from Duda in the Chamber today. He’s described LGBT rights as an “ideology” and presided over Poland becoming the worst performing EU country on LGBT rights. That’s why this image matters so much and gives at least a little hope for LGBT Poles.’
Duda, who was elected in 2015, has also been widely criticised for lashing out at same-sex marriage and vowing to ban same-sex couples from adopting children.
He won a second term last month after an acrimonious campaign laced with homophobic language and appeals to religious conservatives, raising fears of further discrimination among LGBT+ Poles.
‘We wanted to remind President Andrzej Duda that … in the constitution there is a guarantee of equality for all,’ Left MP Anna Maria Zukowska said.
‘We don’t want a similar situation during his next term as there was during his campaign, when the president dehumanized LGBT people by denying them the right to be people.’
PiS has argued that LGBT rights are part of an invasive foreign ideology that undermines Polish values and the traditional family.
In his swearing-in speech, Duda reiterated his pledge to keep ‘family as the foundation stone of society … as our most precious good.’
Some Polish towns have been told they will lose European Union funding after declaring themselves ‘free of LGBT ideology’.