The campaign against homophobia accuses the AWPL and ZPL activists of homophobic attitudes. Michał Mackiewicz, the head of ZPL considers the accusations unserious.
T-shirts with a slogan ‘Vilnius riding bikes without pedals’, which were worn by the participants of XV Tourist Family Rally AWPL-ZPL, are the object of accusations.
‘We want to express our serious anxiety caused by the content of some slogans promoted at the organization of events at the Rally. T-shirts worn by the participants of the Rally had the following slogan: ‘Vilnius riding bikes without pedals’. The circumstances of using the term ‘pedal’ are in favor of regarding that the slogan was aimed at homosexuals. In a public reception, the term ‘pedal’ is a highly insulting characterization of a homosexual person’ – as it was proclaimed in the statement of KPH, referring to l24.lt.
The document was addressed to Michał Mackiewicz – the Chairman of ZPL, Waldemar Tomaszewski – the leader of AWPL and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In the interview for our web, Mackiewicz declared that he doesn’t understand the issue of the problem. ‘We have democracy, freedom and there are bikes without pedals. Pedal is the part of a bicycle. I understand only the term. A bike can be without pedals; it can be powered by an engine – I don’t know. There has to be a democracy, everyone writes what he or she wishes. Is somebody bothered by something? A bike can have no pedals. It only matters whether a bike is modern. Maybe this was the case? I heard the councilors of Vilnius came up with the idea; they have to comment on it’ – stresses the Chairman of ZPL.
KPH made a stand in the document in relation to the statement of Tomaszewski on-air at ’Znad Wilii’ radio: ‘If liberals win in Vilnius, that means blue people, ‘golubyje’ in Russian.
‘The term “golubyje”, which originated in Russian, is also used to insult a homosexual person. It’s usage in public utterances by the ones who hold important public functions certainly causes objections’ – the statement proclaimed.
In the interview with zw.lt, the Chairman of AWPL said he had nothing to add in the case of T-shirts. ‘I am really not obliged to care whether all people wear the same T-shirts. A person is free and he/she wears T-shirts that suit him or her’ – says Tomaszewski. The MEP emphasized he didn’t receive the document but he doesn’t wish to comment upon the case. ‘There are 1 mln statements issued daily around the world. We are busy and we’re not going to take various statements into consideration’ –adds the MEP.
The whole statement can be found here: http://www.kph.org.pl/
The campaign against homophobia (KPH) – is a national, non-governmental organization which operates since 11 September 2001. The association is engaged in the fight with discrimination regarding sexual orientation and sexual identity in the Polish society, organization of actions that aim at preventing homophobia, transfobia and fighting on behalf of LGBT persons.
Tłumaczenie by Agnieszka Galek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Agnieszka Galek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.