Kampania Przeciw Homofobii

Mirka Makuchowska, a gay-rights activist in Poland, discusses the struggle for LGBT equality in her country and the civil-partnership awareness project being organised by Kampania Przeciw Homofobii.

Kampania Przeciw Homofobii – Campaign Against Homophobia – (KPH) was established in 2001 as a national public-benefit non-governmental organisation with non-profit status. Its purpose is to work for the equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Poland.

In order to help to increase tolerance and acceptance among the wider population, and to tackle stereotypes and prejudices, we conduct a wide range of activities, including:

  • empowering members of the LGBT community
  • education
  • research and report writing
  • social awareness campaigns
  • combating sexism and working towards gender equality

KPH offers psychological and legal help to victims of homophobia, and is very active in lobbying for equal rights on the national and international levels.

Queer May

KPH specialises in organising large social-awareness and educational campaigns, aimed at integrating LGBT people into society. These include our poster campaign and photo exhibit, “Let Them See Us”, and Krakow’s annual “Queer May” festival. We, also, train and educate students, teachers, social workers, lawyers, police, parents and others.

KPH has taken been part in many international LGBT initiatives and networks working on LGBT issues, participating in many youth exchanges, NGO platforms and social campaigns across Europe and beyond. We continue to look for further opportunities to cooperate and learn from other organisations, as well as pass on our knowledge to them. KPH is particularly interested in working with countries east of Poland.

One of our current campaigns is for a Polish civil-partnership bill. As part of our promotion of this, we are searching for same-sex couples from the European Union who have legalised their partnerships in their own countries.

In due course, we will be hosting a photo exhibition, which will include:

  • Polish same-sex couples who would like to legalize their partnership in Poland, but due to lack of a proper law they can’t – these pictures will be symbolically black and white.
  • pictures of same-sex couples from those EU countries that allow homosexual couples to get married or legalize their partnership – these pictures will contrast with the Polish ones by being in colou

PTT trustees in Polish gay photo exhibition

I’m pleased to acknowledge the support from George Broadhead and Roy Saich of the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT), who have supplied us with photographs and a brief account of their civil partnership registration in 2006. For our project to be successful, we need other couples to do likewise, and we would be grateful to hear from other couple from EU countries who would be willing to send their pictures and any accompanying notes from their own civil-partnership/marriage celebrations.

The exhibition, starting in June, will be held in two Polish cities, Wroclaw and Warsaw, in galleries or other places frequently attended by the public. Following on from this, our hope is to then show it in the next 16 biggest Polish cities, during the autumn. At the opening of the exhibition, there will be a debate about the lack of rights for Polish gay couples. Polish LGBT activists will take part in the discussion.

If you are interested in contributing, please contact me by email.

Mirka Makuchowska has been a member of KPH since 2006. She was the coordinator of the Wroclaw branch and is currently the organisation’s secretary. She’s also in charge of the development of regional branches and anti-discrimination workshops for Wroclaw NGOs.

Related links
Kampania Przeciw Homofobii (KPH)
Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH English-language website)
Campaign Against Homophobia, New York (Facebook page)
International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU