Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski Calls Polish Gay Free Zones 'Absurd'

Thursday September 24, 2020

Antoni Porowski
Antoni Porowski   (Source:Associated Press)

Queer Eye's resident foodie Antoni Porowski called the establishment by Polish towns as Gay Free Zones "absurd," the Huffington Post reports. And is promoting a petition from advocacy group All Out that asks the European Union to condemn the crackdown.

"The petition, with more than 300,000 signatures, was delivered on Tuesday to European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli, the same day the small Polish town of Krasnik voted itself free from LGBT ideology."

"If Poland wants to be part of the EU, then they have to behave accordingly," said Porowski. The 36-year old actor was born in Canada to Polish parents and grew up in Montreal speaking Polish at home.

"To have its own people excluding its own population, it seems so absurd and counterintuitive to Polish history," Porowski told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

In Poland, a member of the EU since 2004, LGBTQ rights has become a divisive political issue. The ruling Law & Justice party and the powerful Catholic church have denounced LGBTQ culture as a foreign "ideology" threatening traditional values. In recent months "dozens of municipalities making similar declarations in Poland, where President Andrzej Duda is a vocal critic of gay and trans rights and campaigned against same-sex adoption and LGBT+ education in schools," writes the HuffPost.

There has been pushback from the more progressive EU countries. Norway said last week that none of the more 100 Polish municipalities that have declared themselves Gay-Free Zones would receive grants under a program funded by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

For Porowski, the issue is personal. "I remember my father telling me that Poland wasn't on the map for 400 years, yet they kept their faith, they kept their country," he said. "(Now) they're fighting against their own. For me it's incredibly frustrating."

He also recalls how when he moved to New York, he was given advice that he should Anglicize his name, which he said would have broken his father's heart.

But after seeing how some marchers in a Polish Pride parade had rocks thrown at them, he's embraced his heritage. "I feel like I have a responsibility.... When you hear personal stories like that, it makes it a lot more difficult for me personally to turn a blind eye, and that's where you feel like you have to do something."

Porowski, who lives in the United States, also said he is concerned about what the upcoming presidential election could mean for LGBTQ people.

"I'm worried about my rights as well," Porowski said. "What's going to happen if we have four more years of that?"

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