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Gay French Minister Denied Official Visit to Polish LGBT-Free Zone

Gay French Minister Clement Beaune Denied Official Visit to Polish LGBT-Free Zone

Local leaders in Kraśnick turn away official visit from France’s minister for European affairs Clément Beaune, who vowed a trip shortly after he came out last year.

France's minister for European affairs was denied permission to enter one of Poland's infamous LGBT-free zones on an official visit to the country this week. In an interview last December, Clement Beaune had vowed to visit one of the homophobic Polish towns and municipalities shortly after revealing he was gay. However, he revealed to L'Obs that leaders in Krasnick denied the French minister's request, blaming the global pandemic rather than homophobia for their decision to turn away an official visit from a foreign diplomat. Krasnick had earlier declared itself to be LGBT-free.

"Polish authorities recently indicated to me that they weren't capable of planning this visit, and I profoundly regret it," Beaune said "It is a decision that I deplore."

Poland has seen a parallel rise in homophobia and right-wing politics in recent years. Nearly a third of towns in Poland have declared themselves "LGBT-free zones", and one politician wanted the entire country to be similarly designated. Polish courts annulled two of those declarations last year and the European Union announced they were suspending funds for any municipality that declared itself an LGBT-free zone. But Poland's right-wing government led by homophobic president Andrzej Duda promptly responded by offering financial support to towns which lost EU funding. Duda was reelected last year to a second term in office after campaigning on a "Family Card" of proposals that included outlawing marriage equality and preventing child adoption by LGBTQ+ families.

Beaune had said any visit would be not just as a gay man but also as a minister of all people opposing bigotry and intolerance.

"I wouldn't want people to say I am fighting against 'LGBT-free' zones because I am gay," Beaune said last December. "However, as European affairs minister, I have an additional responsibility. I must fight for tolerance."

Those hopes were temporarily dashed by officials in Krasnick this week. A spokesman for Beaune said the visit would not have been "well received given the difficulties of the health situation."

Rather than force a confrontation by visiting the city without permission, Beaune indicated his responsibilities as a foreign dignitary prevented him from doing so.

"That is not how you one should behave with an EU member state," Beaune explained, adding he still planned on visiting one of Poland's LGBT-free zones at a later date and time.

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