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The Question of Separation in the Stands

April 12, 2011

This article is a follow up to last months article Taking a Stand in the Stands.

After I wrote the article about Teczowa Trybuna, the Polish organisation who wanted separate seating at Euro 2012 for gay and straight fans, I expressed my doubt about the idea’s effectiveness and thought that was that. However, the members of the group sent a follow up letter to The Justin Campaign, and I must say it’s given me a lot to think about.

The main reason the group want to be separated is safety. They say that some of their members have been beaten up by homophobic fans, and that nothing is being done to stop it as “hardly anybody among Polish officials cares.” To add to this, the group also say how the progress of  LGBT civil unions has been slowed by unaccepting members of the government.

This information worries me. I have never lived in Poland and do not pretend to know much about the country, so I had no idea how difficult it would be to be gay in such adverse conditions.

Teczowa Trybuna also points out that VIP boxes and disabled areas already split the crowd at football matches, and no-one thinks twice about that. This is another good point, but I am still of the opinion that separating straight and gay fans will not be beneficial in the long run, if the aim is to create an equal society. Surely, a more effective way to make things better for LGBT fans in Poland is to tackle to stigma of racism, raising awareness and making the unfeeling government officials sit up and take notice?

I’m not sure what the best course of action is here. What do you think?

The Teczowa Trybuna email to the Justin Campaign can be found here.

– Laura Staniforth



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