Watch: New Documentary on Poland's Anti-LGBTQ Oppression

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday October 28, 2020

Vogue dancer in 'Polish Stonewall'
Vogue dancer in 'Polish Stonewall'  (Source:i-D / YouTube)

i-D has just released a new, brief but stark documentary on discrimination and increased violence against LGBTQ people in Poland.

The film centers on the arrest of non-binary activist Margot, "who claims she was threatened with death and locked up for being violent toward a security guard, with no real proof of such events occurring." The incident has led to what my LGBTQ activists are referring to as Poland's Stonewall. Later in the film, we meet Margot, who discusses her experience of being a queer person in prison at a time when anti-LGBTQ sentiment is rampant in Poland.

The documentary introduces queer figures such as queer DJ and activist Avtomat, "who was there the day Margo was arrested, and was also the victim of systemic tactics following his arrest." Audiences also get a chance to see the Kiki House of Sarmata, "Poland's foremost voguing collective." Embracing voguing is subversive in a country that has, under the lead of right-wing and nationalist politics, increasingly instituted "LGBT-free" zones. Nightclubs, as seen in the documentary, become safe spaces for the LGBTQ community, "full of vogue dancers and queer affection... away from the perils of the outside world."

Overall, the film's theme is one of resistance and resilience. As Margot succinctly puts it, "we will fight for ourselves." Watch the film:

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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