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August 6, 2020, 06.07 PM

WARSAW, — Poland’s LGBT members continue to leave the conservative European Union country following the successful reelection of President Andrzej Duda.

Poland has been led by a right-wing populist party since 2015 and since then, Poles like Piotr Grabarczyk feared “bad things” might happen to gay men like him and other LGBT people.

Piotr considered leaving the country, but decided to wait during which he moved to Warsaw for a job and friends. Warsaw is a relatively liberal capital city in Poland.

Piotr also trusted that Poland’s EU membership would offer protection for his community, but that faith was stripped loose recently.

Polish President Andrzej Duda won a reelection campaign on an anti-LGBT platform.

Duda, who repeatedly described the LGBT rights movement as a dangerous “ideology,” is being sworn into his second term Thursday.

Grabarczyk, 31, is now gone, along with other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Poles who have emigrated to escape what they consider homophobia promoted by the highest levels of government.

“Like where’s the line? Is there a line they are not going to cross? I don’t know," Grabarczyk said after landing last week in Barcelona, Spain, where both same-sex marriages and adoptions are legal. "That was kind of scary.”

He spoke to The Associated Press alongside his boyfriend, Kamil Pawlik, 34, who left Poland three days after Duda beat Warsaw's mayor in a runoff last month.

While gays and lesbians have never had the legal right to marry or to form civil unions in Poland, as they can in much of Europe, many felt confident until not long ago that Polish society was becoming more accepting and that those rights would one day come.


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