Wojciech Szelag apologizes on Polish television for his LGBTIphobic remarks
POLAND – Times change, so do presidents and televisions. A new wind has been blowing through Polish society in recent months and the election of Donald Tusk. The latter, who also met Emmanuel Macron this Monday, February 12, succeeded last December as Prime Minister to a nationalist populist government led by the PiS.
A guarantee that progressivism has found colors across the Oder, Maja Heban and Bart Staszewski, two activists for equal rights for LGBT people, were invited this Sunday, February 11 in the evening on the public channel TVP Polonia. A first in eight years. The sequence seemed all the more unimaginable a few months ago, as the TV presenter began his interview by apologizing.
“ Before we begin to discuss, it seems to me that there are three essential things to say. For years in Poland, hateful words have been directed at people simply because they choose to live who they are and love who they love. LGBT+ people are not an “ideology”, they are human beings. These are names, faces, loved ones, friends. And in all of this, there is one word that all these people should hear: sorry. Now is the time for me to apologize. THANKS “, declared journalist Wojciech Szelag in the preamble and in a quavering voice. It was probably an apology on behalf of the channel, which the presenter only joined at the beginning of 2024.
“ Propaganda has stolen our dignity”
Enough to arouse emotion among Bart Staszewski, present in front of the journalist. It was he in particular who had warned about the twinning of certain French cities with Polish municipalities having declared themselves an “LGBT ideology-free zone”. A particularly active activist, he was often publicly vilified and sometimes even threatened with death. “I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Words have power: for years propaganda stole our dignity, today words of apology allow us to move forward “, did he get excited about by relaying the sequence.
“I think it’s symbolically a very important moment”, confided the author and journalist Maja Heban, present on the set. The transactivist activist has regularly testified about her journey, exposing herself to verbal and physical violence.
Just a few months ago, same-sex families were still presented as a danger for Polish society in many media, including TVP, as Bart Staszewski recalls.
The years 2017-2023 were notably marked by LGBTIphobic public policies, with the establishment of “LGBT ideology-free zones”, the aggression of several activists or demonstrators for equal rights, but also the desire to inspire for the government repressive laws adopted in Hungary and Russia which condemn “LGBT propaganda”.
The invitation of the two activists by TVP is part of a greater openness of certain media. LGBTI couples were notably invited on a mainstream morning show.
Now, Bart Staszewski calls Donald Tusk to make the same apologies as Wojciech Szelag. “ He would not only gain enormous international recognition, but also show that he is above political calculations (…) It is normal for presidents and prime ministers to apologize for the decisions of their predecessors, especially when population groups have been the target of attacks “, defends the activist who believes that “ Unfortunately » it will still be necessary « wait a long time for this “.
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