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Polish newspaper to hand out ‘LGBT-free zone’ stickers

Chiara Giordano

A Polish newspaper plans to hand out “LGBT-free zone” stickers in its next issue.

Gazeta Polska tweeted a preview of the stickers, which show a rainbow flag with a black cross over it.

The weekly publication, which has a circulation of about 11,000, openly supports the conservative governing Law and Justice Party (PiS).

The stickers are due to be distributed on Wednesday with next week’s issue.

Georgette Mosbacher, the US ambassador to Poland, criticised the move.

She tweeted: “I am disappointed and concerned that some groups use stickers to promote hatred and intolerance.

“We respect freedom of speech, but we must stand together on the side of values such as diversity and tolerance.”

A law graduate based in the country’s capital of Warsaw compared the stickers to anti-Jew signs displayed by the Nazis in Germany.

He said: “One of the photos comes from the supplement to Gazeta Polska, a magazine associated with the PiS. The second picture is the work of the Nazis. Poland in the 21st century and Germany in the 1930s. So far, and so close.”

In response to the criticism, the newspaper’s editor Tomasz Sakiewicz said freedom meant both his own views and those of the ambassador should be respected.

He added: “Being an activist in the gay movement does not make anyone more tolerant.

“Poles love freedom and have known the word tolerance for centuries. That’s why they supported the rise of the USA.”

Paweł Rabiej, the deputy mayor of Warsaw, said he had filed a complaint about the stickers to the prosecutor’s office.

He tweeted: “German fascists created Jew-free zones. As you can see this tradition finds worthy followers, this time in Poland.”

Posting an image of the letter he sent to the prosecutor, he added: “I hope that the prosecutor’s office will take appropriate steps and prohibit the distribution of discriminatory stickers.”

Polish attitudes to homosexuality are evolving, but gay marriage is still outlawed.

According to a poll carried out by CBOS in 2017, at the time half of Poles believed homosexuality was not normal but could be tolerated, while a quarter believed it should not be tolerated at all.