Gay & Lesbian Nightlife

While Poland is one of the few countries in which homosexuality has never been punished by state law, do not for one moment think that this is a gay friendly nation. Centuries of hard-core Catholicism have created an atmosphere where being gay is still regarded as ‘wrong’, and even in a westernised, hip and happening city such as Kraków you’ll find gay life buried very much underground – this was after all the city where not long ago a Gay Pride march was ambushed by football hooligans and religious extremists, resulting in bloody street battles. Faced with such closed attitudes it’ll come as small surprise that homosexuality was officially listed as a disease up until 1991, and gays will find themselves getting short shrift by many politicians. Late president Lech Kaczyński went on record proclaiming homosexuality ‘unnatural’, while his twin brother Jarosław, the former Prime Minister was moved to declare that gays should be banned from teaching in schools. Unpleasant sentiments, but not nearly as malignant as the opinion of LPR politician Wojciech Wierzejski whose many rants included the immortal words: ‘gays should be bludgeoned… they are all paedophiles and members of the mafia.'

Surprisingly, the age of consent is the same as heterosexual relationships – 15 – and there are signs of changing attitudes. 2005 heralded Poland’s first gay marriage (not officially recognised), while the previous year saw Warsaw’s public transport body become the first company to officially acknowledge homosexual relationships by giving gay employees and their partners the right to free transport. For further info on gay life in Poland and Kraków visit the English language website

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