Men Kissing in Polish History
July 27, 2009
I was arguing (unsuccessfuly) that Pride Parades aren’t the best idea for promoting gay community in Poland. It doesn’t matter that they work just fine in other countries. In Poland parades are linked to communism. They are one of the many things that will never again be looked upon without negative connotations.
During the decades of communism several times a year there was a great parade, with people carrying flags, banners, balloons, and colourful scarfs.
For the most part they looked something like this, with people going there just because there always was someone there checking the list.
But in larger cities, like Warsaw, there were even special shows performed by artists on platforms. There was music and the communist youth sang joyful songs.
The idea was to show the proud and happy nation that the People’s Republic of Poland was.
Naturally people hated them yet back then, and they were glad when the parades ended. Especially the May 1 parade that no one could have avoided. Parades are passe. Anyone who wants to make a difference in Poland has to come with something more creative than that.
Marek Kotański had his Chain of Pure Hearts, Jerzy Owsiak holds the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, and city mayors celebrate all the main national days by organising concerts, polonaises, new records breaking, battle enactments etc etc. Do anything but don’t parade.
Who still parades in Poland? Communists on May 1, feminists on March 8, and gays on May 1 (out of all days!) in the years 2001-2003, and only since 2005 they moved it to later dates in May or June. Needless to say all three have very little support, and likely it doesn’t help that the only political party actively cheering both gays and feminists are the post-communists.
It seems rather obvious that the mental link that the majority of Poles (largely disinterested in the postulates of the three anyway) will make is going to be highly unfavourable. That’s what I was trying to explain to Pawel, who believes that Pride Parades are just the thing because they help in the West so well.
To my arguments he said:
OMG I would LOVE to see Stalin in drag, Brezhnev and Honecker kissing and waving rainbow flags… effeminate miners and farmers holding hands:) Rosa Luxembours with moustache… That would be so fun to watch such a communist parade! :)
Actually it’s not difficult to do, and I don’t think that Pawel would shock anyone if he used these pictures during the parades. After all the majority of Poles still remember the images very well.
Brezhnev and Honecker kissing:
although Brezhnev and Gierek look so much more romantic:
Stalin in drag, promoting gay marriage to boot:
It’s not as easy with Rosa Luxemburg. Either she linked moustache to Sarmatism, or nature didn’t want to cooperate, but I couldn’t find such a picture. Actually I think that lesbians find the idea of imagining them with moustache quite offensive, but what do I know.
Yet, nothing beats the farmer kissing his liberator – an image that Poles love!
Wikipedia gives this description to it:
Peasant kissing a soldier of the “Army of Liberation” on a Soviet propaganda poster issued after the joint Nazi-Soviet invasion of Poland. According to Soviet propaganda, the Red Army entered Poland to liberate and protect the “Ukrainian-Belarussian brothers”. The text reads: “Our army is an army that liberates workers”, signed “J. Stalin”.
In other words, perhaps it’s worth considering that certain methods and images that in the West are interpreted in favour of gays will bring the exact opposite effect in Poland. And indeed it seems they do if one believes the opinion polls.
ETA: This post appeared to stir some emotions. People assumed that I wanted to criticise gays and prevent them from public appearance. It’s not the case. Read my other post where I try to explain why I think that the parades aren’t the best form of promotion. It doesn’t follow I’m against any promotion of gay culture. I’m just suggesting a better (more effective) one should be found.
Posted by Sylwia