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LGBT is an acronym that may sound mysterious to many, and defines non-heteronormative people. In LGBT, "L" stands for lesbians, "g" for gays, "b" for bisexuals, and "t" for transgender people. The history of the LGBT movement dates back to the 1960s, and the LGBT community is also very active in Poland. So read what you need to know about LGBT.


  1. LGBT: what does this abbreviation mean?
  2. How did the LGBT movement come about?
  3. LGBT movement in Poland

LGBT: what does this abbreviation mean?

LGBTis an acronym that refers to non-heteronormative people. And what does this mean in turn, another concept next toLGBT ? The fact that non-heteronormative people are not heterosexual (and here we should mention gays, lesbians, bisexuals), and / or their biological gender does not correspond to their psychological gender or they do not identify with any gender.

The LGBT community can therefore include all homosexual and bisexual people and / or those who do not fall under the traditional understanding of "feminine" and "masculine".

Under "t" in the LGBT acronym, we can find not only transsexuals (people of different psychological and biological sex), but also transvestites (people functioning as a woman or a man on a daily basis, in certain situations resembling the opposite sex through clothes, behavior) or those who differ in their appearance and behavior from what is culturally and stereotypically attributed to representatives of their biological sex.

The term LGBT became widely used in the 1990s.

Lesbian- the word for a woman of homosexual orientation did not come into use until the 20th century, because earlier the possibility of a woman being able to love another woman was often questioned at all.

Homosexuals chose Sappho as their patron - a poet who lived in the 6th century BC, always surrounded by her students and praising their beauty in her poems. Sappho lived on the Greek island of Lesbos, hence "lesbian".

Gay- the term for homosexual men derives from the French language, in which "gaiety" means a carefree, joyful and expressive person (similarly in English).

However, earlier, in the 17th century, the same term was supposed to apply to a dissolute man, it could also be applied to a woman - it was tantamount to calling herprostitute, or even to call the building that - and in this case it didn't look any better, because it meant a brothel, or more literally - a brothel.

Bisexual person- someone who can form a relationship and have a sexual relationship with both women and men. From the Greek "bi" means both, and from the Latin "sexualis" - sexual.

The term "bisexual", "bisexual", like the word "lesbian", started to function only in the 20th century, previously used by … botanists in relation to plants.

Transgender person- this term causes the most misunderstandings because it describes several different phenomena. Transgender people (Latin outside, on the other hand) are:

  • transgender persons- with a gender identity that differs from traditionally understood male and female roles and behaviors ascribed to a given gender; transgenderism is not associated with any specific sexual orientation;
  • transsexual people- people with biological gender incompatibility with the psychological one - some of them undergo hormonal treatment, surgical gender correction, and seek legal name and surname change;
  • transvestites (cross dressers)- people who dress up as a representative of the opposite sex for emotional or sexual pleasure, but who function in accordance with their biological sex on a daily basis;
  • drag queen / drag king- a drag queen is a man who plays the role of the opposite sex on stage and a drag king is a woman who acts as a man.
  • LGBT patient rights: what you are en titled to and where to seek help
  • Coming out: how to do it and "get out of the closet"? A guide for teenagers and adults [interview with an expert]
  • The "Know your rights" campaign has been launched, addressing the issue of the rights of LGBTI patients and patients
Worth knowing

Almost 30 percent LGBTQI people have experienced violence

Almost 30 percent LGBTQI people have experienced violence (mostly physical) in the last five years. Violence is most often experienced by transgender and gay people, less often by lesbians and bisexual women. 2/3 of the perpetrators of violence are men, according to the Campaign Against Homophobia report.

Few report the matter to the police. Research shows that 43 percent. did not believe that the police would like to do something about such a report, and another 20 percent. did not believe that the police would have such an opportunity.

Besides, in most cases the police discourage reporting. 57 percent people who decided to go to the police were discouraged by the policereporting a crime, and 19 percent. experienced homophobic treatment on their part.

However, some of the victims were helped by the police. Ultimately, five cases were referred to the court.

How did the LGBT movement come about?

The world's first organization associating LGBT people was established in 1946 in the Netherlands, but the emergence of the LGBT movement dates back to a later date - its beginning is usually considered to be 1969.

At that time, in the United States, police raided clubs whose customers might be behaving "indecently", and this "indecently" meant: man dancing with a man and a woman or man having fewer than three garments appropriate to their gender. Gays were also forbidden to serve alcohol.

On the night of June 27-28, police raided the Stonewall Inn gay club in New York and began questioning and demanding that its regulars leave the premises. Instead of dispersing, they gathered in front of the premises - there were riots in which thousands of gays and lesbians participated in the following days.

The symbol of the LGBT movement is the rainbow - six color - flag, designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker.

Soon after, the first rallies of LGBT people were organized and their associations were founded. Currently, there is an organization in Poznań that takes its name from the American club - Grupa Stonewall, which works for the equal rights of same-sex couples.

Currently, the situation of LGBT people in different countries is very different - they can get married in 24 countries around the world (Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Mexico, Portugal, Argentina, Denmark, France, Taiwan, New Zealand, UK, Luxembourg, Ireland, Brazil, Uruguay, Spain, United States, Colombia, Finland, M alta, Germany, Iceland).

W 73 homosexuality is illegal, and in 7 homosexual contacts are punishable by the death pen alty (Sudan, Somalia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia). In the Arab world, there is only one organization supporting and associating LGBT people - Helem from Lebanon.

Worth knowing

LGBT … and more

The original abbreviation LGBT grows with more and more members over the years. In various publications you can also come across the words: LGBTQ, LGBTQI or finally LGBTQIA - each of these additional letters has its own meaning, and they come along with subsequent research and development of the LGBT community.

Q, meaning queer- initially this term was used as offensive towards homosexuals, today it is different - this term is used by people themselves,who do not want to define their gender identity or orientation in any way.

I, meaning intersex people- the term "intersexuality" refers to people who were born with genitals and other sexual characteristics that cannot be defined as typically male or typically female.

Sex characteristics are, among others, having ovaries or testes, producing sperm or eggs, having specific chromosomes, producing hormones.

Intersexuality is also a medical term, and intersex people are assigned a specific gender at birth, with which they later feel good or not.

A, that is asexual people- people not interested in sex or giving up on their sexual orientation or unsure of it. Asexuality is defined as the fourth (along with hetero-, homo- and bisexuality) sexual orientation.

Often the term LGBT + is used instead of adding letters.

LGBT movement in Poland

In Poland, the issue of LGBT people was raised for the first time in an article in a Krakow newspaper in 1974. This year is also the date of the commencement of the "Hyacinth" action by the authorities of the Polish People's Republic - 11,000 homosexual men were arrested, who were forced to cooperate with the SB and were threatened with disclosing their orientation in work, among the family.

The first Polish gay-lesbian organization operating illegally (the authorities refused to register the association) was the Warsaw Homosexual Movement (WRH), which was established in 1987.

In 1997, the Lambda Warsaw Association was founded. Its goal is to build a positive image of LGBT people and work towards their social acceptance.

In 2001, the Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH) was founded, which was led by Robert Biedroń for many years. In 2004, a draft law on civil unions was submitted to the Parliament, one of the assumptions of which was to introduce the possibility for homosexual persons to marry, but it was rejected. Just like the next projects.

Today, LGBT people in Poland cannot marry or adopt partnerships or adopt children, and the gender reassignment surgery is not reimbursed by the National He alth Fund. However, the correction itself is possible, as is the gender reconciliation.

Currently, non-heteronormative people can associate or seek help in many organizations supporting the LGBT community. These include the aforementioned: Stonewall Group, Campaign Against Homophobia, Lambda Warsaw Association, as well as Fabryka Równości, Fundacja WolontariatRówności, the Trans-Fuzja Foundation, the Culture of Equality, associations: bez! Meas, Diversity Workshop, Love Doesn't Exclude, Iris, Tolerado.

Dr Sylwia Spurek and Robert Biedroń on the situation of LGBT people in Poland



1. J. Dawson, The Rainbow Booklet. A Guide for Teenagers, trans. D. Dymińska, Krytyki Polityczna Publishing House, Warsaw 2016

2. Materials of the League for Tolerance project available at:

About the authorAnna SierantEditor in charge of the Psychology and Beauty sections, as well as the main page of As a journalist, she cooperated, among others. with "Wysokie Obcasy", the websites: and, the quarterly "G'RLS Room". She also co-founded the online magazine "PudOWY Róż". He runs a blog jakdzż

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