KET Talks:

Being LGBTIQ+ At School In Poland

This week in your episode of KET Talks podcast, Vincent Reillon and Rémy Bonny from Forbidden Colours discuss the situation of LGBTIQ+ people in Poland. They are joined by Dominik Kuc from Growspace, a local LGBTIQ+ organization working on inclusive education.

A successful ranking of high schools regarding LGBTIQ+ inclusivity

Dominik is the founder of a project in which students in Poland rank their own high school regarding their level of LGBTIQ+ inclusivity. In 2020, more than 20 000 students participated in the initiative ranking more than 2 000 across the country. As students are free to choose their high school, Dominik explains how this ranking is helping LGBTIQ+ people find a school where they can feel safe.

The idea came following a wave of suicides from LGBTIQ+ teenagers discussed in the media when Dominik was still in high school. He was moved by what he heard and decided to act to make sure that LGBTIQ+ student could find a safe environment in which to study. The project started in Warsaw and with the support of Forbidden Colours it grew in a couple of years to cover the whole country.

The results shows that the most inclusive schools, which receive each year an equality diploma, are not all located in the big and more liberal cities. The ranking is a powerful tool to break the narrative of the Polish government that has been using an anti-LGBTIQ+ rhetoric in the last years.

This year, a pilot project was even organized in Brussels to show that the project was a best practice that could be replicated in other countries. The results of the pilot in Brussels shows that even in a country where the laws have been progressive to protect LGBTIQ+ people, there is still a lot to do to make sure that the schools are inclusive towards LGBTIQ+ students.

“LGBT free zones” and current anti-LGBTIQ+ laws being discussed in Poland
Dominik also updates us on the current situation regarding the “LGBT Free zones”. These localities and regions started to declare themselves free from ‘LGBT ideology’ in 2019, following the adoption by the city of Warsaw of a charter for LGBTIQ+ inclusivity.

He also expresses his concerns regarding two pieces of legislation being currently discussed in the Polish parliament. The first one would ban LGBTIQ+ organization to go to school to educate the students on LGBTIQ+ topics and provide comprehensive sex and relationship education. The second one, labelled as the ‘Stop LGBT bill’ would ban all prides in the country.

Dominik considers that the current government does not reflect the actual positioning of the Polish society on LGBTIQ+ topics. Looking forward to the 2024 elections, he feels that the opposition movement is now ready to implement positive changes towards more protection and rights for LGBTIQ+ people.

To listen to this episode, click below.