Gay French minister denied entry to Poland’s LGBT-free zones
Clément Beaune, the gay French Minister for European Affairs, has been denied entry to Poland’s controversial “LGBT-free zones” on an official visit to the country.
Last December, Beaune had declared that he was going to visit these Polish towns and municipalities after revealing he was gay during an interview with French LGBTQ magazine Têtu.
He explained that his visit wouldn’t be just as a gay man but as an official opposing government and bigotry.
“I wouldn’t want people to say I am fighting against ‘LGBT-free’ zones because I am gay. However, as European affairs minister, I have an additional responsibility. I must fight for tolerance,” he said.
He added, “Europe does not only fight on technical subjects. It is also the continent of liberal democracies where we ardently defend fundamental rights and individual freedoms.”
In response to Poland, European lawmakers are presently considering declaring the whole European Union as an “LGBT freedom zone.”
Denying the gay French Minister’s visit
However, he was later denied entry to these areas because he was not given permission by Polish authorities. The latter cited the global pandemic as the reason.
Beaune decried the barring but said he didn’t want to force the decision because of his rank and position.
“Polish authorities recently indicated to me that they weren’t capable of planning this visit, and I profoundly regret it. It is a decision that I deplore,” he said.
The official said that he couldn’t visit the place without permission as his responsibilities as a foreign dignitary prevented him from doing so.
“I could have gone to one of these zones without the Polish government’s authorisation, but in my view, That is not how you one should behave with an EU member state,” Beaune said
The gay French Minister’s trip to Poland
In particular, Beaune was supposed to visit the town of Krasnik, said a spokesperson.
Krasnik was one of the 100 municipalities that signed the declaration of being zones free from the “LGBT ideology.”
The spokesperson said Polish authorities had said Beaune’s visit would be “badly received” considering the “health situation.”
However, the Polish government had denied that they had blocked the access of the French minister.
“This is of course not true. No one in the Polish government forbade or made it impossible for the French deputy minister to visit Krasnik,” Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk tweeted.
Honoring women on International Women’s Day
The French minister decided to continue the visit to Poland despite being denied entry to Krasnik, arriving on International Women’s Day.
“If I decided to maintain my visit to Poland, it’s because another topic– just as important in my eyes– has emerged: that of women’s right to abortion,” Beaune said.
Currently, Poland has one of EU’s most restrictive abortion laws, after a court ruling that said abortions in the event of fetal deformities are unconstitional.
Beaune also said that he still hasn’t given up on his promise to visit one of the Polish “LGBT-free zones.”
Bartosz Staszewski, an LGBT activist who met Beaune during the latter’s visit, said: “It’s definitely a very important signal to all of us, a political signal to our community, that we aren’t alone.”