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Homophobia by definition means fear towards homosexuals. Homophobia is often associated with aversion or even hatred towards gays and lesbians. Read what homophobia is and how it manifests itself also in Poland.

Homophobiais a term that was formulated quite recently - it was first written abouthomophobiain 1969 by Time magazine, later used him in his book, the American psychologist and LGBT activist George Weinberg.

What is homophobia?

Although it is customary to definehomophobiaas not only fear (as indicated by the literal translation from the Greek "phóbos"), but also hatred towards homosexuals, in 2006 the European Parliament extended this definition also applies to bisexual and transgender people.

In turn, the famous American dictionary Merriam Webster informs that homophobia is "irrational fear, discrimination and aversion towards homosexuals and homosexuality". It is worth paying attention to the word "irrational" - most often homophobia has no basis in facts, but rather in beliefs, convictions and stereotypes.

Homophobia can take many discriminationoccurs when a homosexual person is treated worse than a heterosexual person in a comparable situation.

Direct discrimination may occur both during the recruitment process, as well as at school, sports, and also, for example, when a homosexual couple wants to rent a flat. Some countries prohibit homosexuals from serving in the military or adopt another so-called the age of consent (i.e. the age from which, according to the law, a person can independently decide that he / she wants to start sexual life).

There is no such discrimination in Poland - according to the law, in order to have sex, you must be at least 15 years old, regardless of your sexual orientation and gender.

In turn, in the case ofindirect discriminationoccurs when a homosexual person is apparently treated neutrally, like everyone else - is not discriminated against institutionally , however, it may happen that, for example, the employer decides to employ only people who have a husband / wife, which excludes gays and lesbians in Poland.

LGBT - what does this abbreviation mean? LGBT community in Poland

MeetLGBT patient rights

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What is internalized homophobia?

It happens that homosexuals are discriminated against not only by people from outside the LGBT community, but also by each other. In such cases, it is referred to asinternalized homophobia . Why might gay or lesbian dislike other gays / lesbians?

There are many reasons: a person has a problem with accepting their own sexual orientation, and therefore a reduced self-esteem blocks their feelings and emotions. And from this comes guilt, especially if she professes a religion with which homosexuality is contrary. Hence the reluctance of a particular gay / lesbian to all manifestations of homosexuality in social and political life.

How does homophobia manifest?

Homophobia can manifest itself in many different ways:

  • at work- when a homosexual person is persistently neglected for promotions, raises, participation in important discussions, he experiences mobbing;
  • in access to he alth care- LGBT patients' rights to dignity and intimacy are not respected (exposure to indiscriminate comments, "jokes", being asked to leave the office), the right to information (partners of homosexual persons are denied information about the he alth of the closest person, despite the fact that according to Polish law, access to such information is available to anyone), as well as the right to respect for family and private life (hindering visits by a partner of the same sex);
  • verbal abuse- especially frequent among young people at school - insults, jokes about homosexual students (outed out or more often those who with their appearance and behavior correspond to the stereotypical perceptions of a homosexual person);
  • cyberbullying- violence using the Internet (usually social networks, messengers) and other means of electronic communication, including mobile phones - especially "popular" among young people;
  • use of physical violenceagainst people of (alleged) homosexual orientation, e.g. harassment of a homosexual teenager by other students at school;
  • using psychological violenceagainst homosexual people - e.g. spreading false rumors about them;
  • stereotypical perception of a homosexual only through the prism of his sexuality - e.g. attributing promiscuity to homosexual men or homosexual women - stereotypically male behavior;
  • discriminating against homosexuals bylaw enforcement, police- e.g. reluctant to help a person who has experienced an attack motivated by her sexual orientation.

Homosexuality and religion

Homophobic behavior is sometimes dictated by faith - most religions not only disapprove of homosexuality, but consider homosexual sex to be a sin. How does it look in different religions?

  • Christianity: Catholicism- homosexuality is considered a sin;
  • Christianity: Orthodoxy- homosexuality is considered a sin;
  • Christianity: Protestantism- in most factions, homosexuality is considered a sin, but, for example, in the Church of Sweden homosexuals can get married;
  • Judaism- most currents condemn homosexual practices;
  • islam- homosexuality is considered a sin;
  • Hinduism and Buddhism- are considered to be the most gay-friendly religions, but it all depends on a specific trend or spiritual leader - in the most general terms, the attitude of Hinduism and Buddhism towards homosexuals can be called neutral .

What does homophobia look like in Poland?

According to the ILGA-Europe report1(the European branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association) released in mid-2022, Poland is one of the least gay-friendly European Union countries - behind us only Lithuania and Latvia were placed in the last position. On the other hand, among all 49 European countries surveyed (not only those belonging to the EU), Poland was in the 37th position.

When preparing the report, the authors of the report took into account 6 factors: equality and non-discrimination, family, freedom of assembly, association and expression, right to asylum, incidence of hate crimes, as well as the issue of gender reconciliation and bodily integrity.

Polish law does not regulate the situation of LGBT people in any way.

Poland was ranked so low primarily because it does nothing to legally regulate the situation of homosexuals. Other EU countries are trying to improve this situation, and in Poland there is still no law on same-sex relationships, there is no prohibition of discriminating against LGBT people in terms of he alth protection, offices or education.

Nevertheless, people experiencing discrimination because of their sexual orientation may report to the Human Rights Defender, Patient Ombudsman or organizations that provide assistance to LGBT people. For example, in 2015 to suchThe organization received 53 reports from people who had experienced homophobia. According to police data, no homophobic crime has taken place at the same time - perhaps the fact that victims are afraid of reporting such cases to the police and that there are no legal regulations regarding discrimination against LGBT people on the grounds of misclassification of such crimes.

The situation of LGBT students is particularly difficult, in recent years there has been a lot of talk about the suicides of teenagers Dominik and Kacper, who could not withstand the taunts from "colleagues" and "friends" about their appearance, which, according to the persecutors, in the standard of what a heterosexual boy should look like.

Check also: Who is a drag queen?

Worth knowing

Every third Pole is a homophobe. Homosexuals threaten traditional values ​​

30% of compatriots believe that "homosexuals threaten the family and traditional values." 29% firmly believe that "homosexuals are a threat to all that is good, moral and normal in society." Some Poles believed that "gays should be avoided", and half believed that homosexuals should be prohibited from working with children. This is the result of a study by the Center for Research on Prejudice .²


  1. The report is available at: [accessed on February 27, 2018]
  2. The report is available at: [accessed on February 27, 2018]

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