Polish actor, journalist, and author Witold Sadowy celebrated his 100th birthday by coming out as gay. He made the announcement during an interview with the Polish public television channel TVP Kultura.
Sadowy was born in Warsaw in 1920 and is the oldest living Polish actor, according to Gazeta.pl. He made his stage debut in 1945 as Floris in Mayor of Stylmond at the Popular Theater. His most recent performance onstage came in 1989. During the period in between he has appeared on nearly every stage in Warsaw.
In 1980, Sadowy began work as a journalist and theatre critic. He wrote for multiple publications. In later years he wrote obituaries for actors and directors. Sadowy was so renowned for his remembrances of the deceased that he earned the nickname of "Charon of Warsaw actors," likening him to the mythological ferryman who escorted the deceased across the river Styx on their journey to Hades. He was honored as a distinguished member of the Association of Polish Stage Artists in 1999, and the Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta in 2015 for his contributions to culture and the arts.
Looking back over his long and storied career, Sadowy has much from which to take pride.
"For me the most important is the truth of survival," he explained. "I am proud that I was an honest man. I don't regret anything."
His announcement is set against the backdrop of growing anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and hate in the former Soviet satellite state. Right-wing protesters became violent at the first-ever Pride march in Bialystok last year. More recently, 80 towns have declared themselves LGBTQ-free zones. The move resulted in a sharp rebuke from the European Parliament which denounced the acts of discrimination and urged authorities to respect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.