Courtesy of Teczowatrybuna2012.pl
The Polish national soccer team has its first gay fan club, Teczowa Trybuna 2012, or Rainbow Stand 2012, and they are asking for separate seats during the Euro 2012 soccer championships.
“Unfortunately, during trips to matches in Poland, we often encountered unpleasantness, harassment and violence from the ‘real’ fans,” reads a statement on their website.
And so, they have asked all Euro 2012 organizers, including the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the coach and players of the Polish national team, to support their initiative to create separate sections in all venues for gay fans.
Violence in general has indeed been a concern for the organizers of the tournament in Poland, who have declared their intention of making the event as family-friendly as possible. A special law providing for electronic surveillance of convicted hooligans, for example, is in the works.
Aggression against the LGBT community in Poland has also been noted as a problem and the Polish Police recently launched a campaign to try to rebuild the community’s confidence.
According to the Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH), a Polish advocacy group who partners with the police in this campaign, about 17 percent of the Polish LGBT community has experienced physical violence, while 50 percent were followed, insulted or blackmailed because of their sexual orientation. Meanwhile, around 80 percent of crimes motivated by homophobia go unreported in Poland.
Rainbow Stand 2012 argues that separate sections would also settle a safety issue for the Polish government, as it would protect gay fans traveling from Western countries, who they consider to be used to a more tolerant environment.
“We do not want to build a ghetto. Obviously we would prefer that in Poland there was no need for rainbow stands,” explained the group.
But not all gay advocacy groups agree. Gregory Czarnecki from KPH told the Associated Press that although he understood the initiative, according to him, very few gays and lesbians would choose separate seating.
From Warsaw Business Journal by Alice Trudelle
Is Poland's ruling party finished?
BY Remi Adekoya
Migration and remittances in the euro zone periphery
BY Stratfor Global Intelligence