Other members of the audience said they could help me change my sexuality if I was willing to try

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com, or follow me on Twitter.


When Mayor Ormanty took his “LGBT-free” resolution to the council in the summer, Dropek’s foundation raised some money to place a colourful billboard poster in Kalwaria’s town centre. Featuring a pair of clasped hands and a rainbow wristband, it read simply: “We’re here.” Within hours, it had been torn down. Then when she found out that the mayor had organised a conference at the community centre on the LGBT “threat”, Dropek decided to go along. The conference, predictably enough, was attended by priests and a few politicians and supporters of Law and Justice. “But what was really shocking,” she says, “was the number of teachers present, including the schools superintendent for the Kraków region.”

Dropek was determined to be polite and constructive, so during the meeting she held her tongue. But eventually she could take no more. “I stood up to say, ‘I am a person, not an ideology, and I’m very hurt by this discussion’. I asked the mayor if my group could organise an event in the centre and talk to people from the town.

“At first he wouldn’t respond. Then he said: ‘You have to understand that this is a very special place. John Paul II is an honorary citizen here.’ Then a priest told me the talk was not directed at people but at an ‘ideology’ which was contrary to Catholic values. Other members of the audience said they could help me change my sexuality if I was willing to try. One man asked me if I was aware what Lenin did with people like me.”

Both Dropek’s parents are devout Catholics but are appalled by the homophobic language of the government and its powerful allies in the church. “The government and the church give permission through their rhetoric to the far-right nationalists and the football ultras who are attacking LGBT people. My mother is frightened on my behalf.”

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