More than a hundred Polish counties have declared themselves so-called “LGBT-free zones”. This means that in a third of Poland, lesbian, gay and trans people are not allowed to be themselves.
Wednesday Marchi 11th, before the coronavirus hit Norway in full effect, a demonstration of solidarity was held outside the Polish embassy. Here, among others, our President Marius participated on behalf of SLM Oslo.
-What is happening in Poland is frightening, but we will not stay quiet about it. We exist, and we’re here to show that fact, says Marius, President of SLM Oslo.
The demonstration was initiated by FRI – The association of gender and sexuality diversity, together with the local chapters in Oslo and Viken, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International Norway. Additionally a great many organizations, parties and individuals participated.
– As a minority within the minority, it is important for SLM to show their presence. This is a long-standing tradition for our club. International solidarity is vital; we cannot grow complacent because we ourselves can live as we wish. We have a responsibility to support the LGBT+ community in general, and our brothers in leather and fetish in other countries, Marius expands.
Those of us who can, must protest.
Per Helge, Mr. Leather Norway 2019, is also deeply engaged in the events in Poland..
-We refuse to accept discrimination anywhere in the world, but Poland is in our European neighbourhood, and therefore we are doubly saddened to see the developments. The prejudices grow and nourish hate crimes, and normal people are taught to believe that gay men commit sexual assault, says Per Helge somberly.
Per Helge has met Mr. Leather Poland, Sebastian, to learn more about the conditions in the country.
-Politicians fail their LGBT+ population, and the church also offers no support to sexual minorities. In such a situation it is easy to feel helpless, and that’s why it’s so important that those of us who are able to, protest, says Per Helge, continuing:
-We must take advantage of our community to reach our brothers in Poland and communicate to them that we see what they are going through. I am very glad to have met Mr. Leather Poland, and through him been able to learn more about everyday life for the queer population of Poland, and to express my deepest sympathy.
SLM Oslo will contribute
-I have also told him about how life is in Norway – how the church supports Pride events. He felt it incredibly inspiring, but also deeply regrettable how far the reality in Poland was from this, explains Per Helge.
During Oslo Pride – at the time of writing still scheduled for June – the overarching theme is international solidarity. SLM wants to be a part of showing that solidarity, and focusing in on the condition for our queer and fetish siblings in other nations.
-SLM is not just parties and fun – we also have a deeply serious role to play for our community, concludes Marius.