Bialystok, Poland has their first ever Pride, outnumbered 4:1
July 21, 2019 7:26 PM   Subscribe

Ringed by riot police, around 1,000 pride marchers walked defiantly through the streets of the northeastern city of Bialystok as thousands of nationalist football "ultra" fans, far-right groups and others threw flash bombs, rocks and glass bottles. [It's the faces of the marchers in the top photo... determination and joy and so young...]
posted by hippybear (18 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I wish this kind of bravery wasn't necessary.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:45 PM on July 21 [23 favorites]

And the riot police showed up for protection against the fash. How often does that happen?
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 7:59 PM on July 21 [12 favorites]

I wish it wasn't necessary but I stand there pumping my fist for every step they take in the name of having pride and not being ashamed, no matter how much the culture fights against it.

The opposite of Pride is Shame.

And bravo to the cops for supporting the citizens fighting for their rights and not those fighting to erase them.
posted by hippybear at 8:26 PM on July 21 [8 favorites]

And the riot police showed up for protection against the fash. How often does that happen?

The saving grace is that Polish nazi idiots are also football hooligans with a lifelong feud with the police.

A very small hope was that this was the first ever Pride in Białystok, a city famous for being the Nazi Idiot Centre in Poland, possibly because everyone is repressing the fact their actual families are 100% sure to have Belarussian, Russian and/or Jewish ancestors. Pride in Poland started with a Warsaw march, with tiny celebrations in 2001-2003 and an actual ban in 2004 and 2005. I was in the 2005 illegal march and I remember the yells and attacks of the nazi idiots trying to stop us - at one point I think the parade crowd was 25% cops in riot gear, forming a cordon around us. And each year it got better, until this year there were over 50 thousand people with freaking corporate sponsorships and actual ambassadors and the kind of giant street party that Pride should be. It took nearly 20 years of showing up, of everyone seeing that LGBTQ people are people, but there's progress.

Hopefully Białystok will get on with the programme. But for now, the nazi idiots in power (PiS, Law and Justice party) seem to have zeroed in on LGBT as an acceptable replacement for Jews as villains and the Catholic Church just doesn't get that accusing activists of spreading paedophilia is the kettle calling the pillow black, and sometimes I look up jobs abroad just to make sure I have an escape route from this traditional Polish hell...
posted by I claim sanctuary at 10:41 PM on July 21 [50 favorites]

Ringed by riot police, around 1,000 pride marchers walked defiantly through the streets of the northeastern city of Bialystok as thousands of nationalist football "ultra" fans...

...fell on their keys.
posted by davejay at 11:01 PM on July 21

Polish towns advocate ‘LGBT-free’ zones while the ruling party cheers them on

Someone I know posted this on Facebook. In the comments, someone else claimed that Polish homophobia is so pronounced that violent attacks in gay pubs have gone up in areas of the UK with large Polish immigrant populations.

In my experience (my parents being from Poland), this is eminently plausible. Masculinity in Polish culture has a paranoid no-homo edge; it's not enough to regard homosexuality (or effeminacy or nontraditional gender roles) as not to one's taste quietly; you have to protest your disgust to ensure that nobody accuses you of being one of them.
posted by acb at 1:33 AM on July 22 [3 favorites]

Seems hypocritical for a far right idiots to criticize "perversion" when their party's name is literally PiS. I guess watersports are ok so long as it's hetero.
posted by Panjandrum at 3:25 AM on July 22 [3 favorites]

When I see a bunch of men protesting an event that looks to be substantially female, it reminds me that a big piece of homophobia is the same old "I must have, at least in theory, sexual access to all women and AFAB people" misogyny and patriarchy. Women and AFAB people can't be allowed to have an out; it's misogynist patriarchy or nothing.
posted by Frowner at 4:15 AM on July 22 [7 favorites]

I claim sanctuary, I hear you, and I thank you and your community for your bravery.
posted by prismatic7 at 5:04 AM on July 22

Białystok, a city famous for being the Nazi Idiot Centre in Poland

For how long? Because this just makes The Producers even funnier.
posted by The Bellman at 6:38 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]

Some updates from Polish media: the guy who used his toddler as a living shield for the nazi side was arrested for child endangerment. So were 28 other people who attacked the Pride march, and the Police say they're analysing footage to identify more perpetrators, with support from the Minister for Internal Affairs in clamping down on all law breaking no matter who has what opinions - hopefully she might let her fellow vice-Minister of Education know, because this particular idiot proposed banning all Pride events for fear of violence. The centrist president of Białystok has announced he'll file an official notice of crime committed by the PiS politicians who organised events against the march, and on Saturday the leftist parties are organising a March Against Violence in Białystok.

(For the record, I identify more as an ally than as LGBTQ, though it's... complicated.)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 6:39 AM on July 22 [12 favorites]

And the riot police showed up for protection against the fash. How often does that happen?

I know people are cynical - but the police (at least in Canada) are there to protect both sides from each other. I've been to counter-fascist protests, and the police stand between the two groups. They are not there for either one; they are enforcing the state's monopoly on violence.

Of course, most of my fellow anti-fascists consider the police itself to be a fascist organization. (It isn't. Para-military and somewhat authoritarian, yes; run through with systemic racism, absolutely. But not fascist, and they are controlled by our elected officials). So they do everything they can to not cooperate with the police, while our local fascists tell the police what their plans are, listen when the police ask them to move.

Those of us most frequently in the actual gun-sights of the fascists - that is, people in synagogues and mosques - rely on the police for protection. Come next Yom Kippur, there will be a police officer outside of our services.
posted by jb at 11:04 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]

Depends on how good discipline is within the police force. Such organisations would be, by their nature, likely to attract people more favourably disposed to fascism than anti-fascism, and people who, whilst not pro-fascist, would be more easily persuadable that fascism is justifiable/necessary. Weeding out fascists in police forces and militaries is an ongoing operation.
posted by acb at 1:55 AM on July 23 [2 favorites]

and they are controlled by our elected officials

That depends heavily on where you live. In NYC, it can be touch-and-go.
posted by kokaku at 5:22 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]

A last update: Jacek Dehnel's stunning first hand account of the Bialystok march was translated for the Guardian. Dehnel is a famous Polish writer; he recently married his longtime partner in the UK, since gay marriage is still illegal in Poland.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:45 AM on July 28 [5 favorites]

I just came here to post that, I claim sanctuary. Thanks for being on the spot with it!
posted by hippybear at 10:57 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]

(Stunning is perhaps the most mild word to apply to this writing. It is superlative in so many ways, and out of that springs how harrowing it is to read. I'm glad I read it, though.)
posted by hippybear at 10:58 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]

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