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Focus on gay, transgender lawmakers in Poland after Walesa’s anti-gay remarks

Walesa refuses to apologize, says he was misunderstood
Monday, March 4, 2013

WARSAW, Poland — Poland’s first gay and transgender lawmakers will sit on the front bench in Parliament this week in reaction to hostile remarks by former president Lech Walesa.

Polish democracy icon and Nobel peace prize winner Walesa sparked outrage last week by saying that as a minority, gays have no right to a prominent role in politics, need to “adjust to smaller things” and should sit on the back benches, or even outside the chamber.

Lech Walesa

On Monday, Walesa refused to apologize and said he has been misunderstood.

Janusz Palikot, the leader of progressive party Palikot’s Movement, reacted by promoting the party’s gay lawmaker, Robert Biedron, and transgender lawmaker, Anna Grodzka, to the front row for a three-day session starting Wednesday.

In Poland’s Parliament, the front row, which is closest to the Speaker and gets the most TV attention, is generally for party leaders and senior lawmakers. The Cabinet sits in a separate section.

Palikot said he will also seek a resolution asking Walesa to “change his manner of speaking.”

Walesa has declined an invitation to meet with Biedron.

Walesa’s son said he was shocked by his father’s words, which “should not have been said.”

“Gays, lesbians, the homosexuals, have the right to have a representation and should be” in Parliament, said Jaroslaw Walesa, who is a European Parliament lawmaker.

In the 1980s Walesa led the Solidarity freedom movement that peacefully toppled communism in Poland.

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20 more reader comments:

  1. And this comes as a surprise how?

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 9:42am
  2. Bigot says what?

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 9:42am
  3. It often comes out when people are homophobes.

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 9:43am
  4. fuck u walesa….

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 9:43am
  5. Nothin like another ignorant person to add to the bunch, makes me sick!!

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 9:44am
  6. even the “greats” among us are human and have bigotry in their hearts. MOVE FORWARD…he can be left in the past, or run to catch up!

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 9:45am
  7. They’re always misunderstood. “My statement was taken out of context” they always say. Misunderstood my Aunt Sophie! He’s a Polish homophobe. Poland’s not exactly known for her pro-gay policies.

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 9:49am
  8. just another example of a worthless human being. hes not great hes a nobody a piece of dirt on the bottom of a shoe.

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 9:51am
  9. Thank you, Gary Wise for your insight. I agree completely. People get over their prejudice through education and experience. Name-calling only makes such a situation worse.

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 9:54am
  10. FUCK THAT GUY

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 9:55am
  11. And to think I once admired him. For shame!!

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 9:59am
  12. Something Red Foreman would say is “he needs a nice swift kick in the ass”

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 10:00am
  13. As a Polish Gay man, I have a few words to say. First to Tim Calahan. Poland has now more then acepted the LGBT community, there is also legislature on the table to make Same Sex Marriage legal. if they do, it will show how the U.S government is behind the times. Secondly, I fully agree that Walesa is out of line with his comments. I do expect that to change, since his son has come out as Gay.

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 10:05am
  14. i don’t expect intelligence from idiots…we don’t need his apology!

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 10:07am
  15. He wasn’t misunderstood. I think he meant every word. Unfortunately. But I’d rather see him SINCERELY apologize for his remarks than have it forced out of him from public pressure.

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 10:12am
  16. Two polish men walk into a bar, the bartender asks them what they want. One gets a Tom Collins, the other gets an Old Fashioned…then they kiss. This isn’t a polish joke…Walesa is.

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 10:22am
  17. AH!!!

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 10:48am
  18. Walesa needs to be reminded that gay men and lesbians were imprisoned and murdered in Auschwitz, and in 2005 LGBTIQ Polish activists were not included in a memorial service in that Nazi Death prison
    http://www.thegully.com/essays/gaymundo/050203_gay_auschwitz.html
    NEVER AGAIN
    NEVER FORGET

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 10:49am
  19. He meant what he said – plain and clear. B IGOT.

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 12:36pm
  20. Chwała i cześć Lechowi!!!zaprezentował pogląd NORMALNEJ większości i nie poddał się modzie na nibyksenofobii.Powinniśmy być dumni z tego iż nie ma u Nas tej zaawansowanej dewiacji jak na Zachodzie!

    Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 1:02pm