Krystian Legierski made history in Poland by coming that country's first openly gay elected official when he was elected to the Warsaw City Council Nov. 21. Responding to questions sent in early December, Legierski discussed the LGBT atmosphere and politics with Windy City Times.
Windy City Times: What is the LGBT scene like in Poland? Are some areas (such as Warsaw) more open/receptive than others?
Krystian Legierski: Warsaw is the most open and LGBT-friendly city in Poland. And generally, cities in Poland are more open than other areasbut it is obvious as i think ;)
WCT: What are the key LGBT issues in Poland? Discrimination? Civil unions (or marriage)? Adoption?
Krystian Legierski: In my opinion the key issues is still discrimination and civil unions, but without adoption. [Concerning] adoption, there is no space to debate yet...
WCT: Illinois just approved civil unions. Are LGBT activists trying to get civil unions approved in Poland city by city, or are they trying to get the whole country to vote for it?
Krystian Legierski: There is no other possibility to get civil unions approved than the whole country. Polish law doesn't allowed to have different laws in different cities on this matter.
WCT: What started your interest in politics? How far would you like to take your career? Would you like to lead the country someday?
Krystian Legierski: I don't plan to lead the country. I will stay in politics as long as I feel I should be in it. It is not a matter of my plans, but rather a matter of sense.
WCT: On a personal note, who was the first person you came out to?
Krystian Legierski: Honestly, I don't remember. I guess it was one of my best friends at university.
WCT: What do Polish LGBT activists (or what do you) think of the LGBT scene here in the United States?
Krystian Legierski: We used to have a problem in Poland with men who have sex with men not being able to donate blood, and there are no restrictions against gay men being in the armyso I'm glad that you are, in some aspects, after us. [Ended sentence with "happy" emoticon] However, to be honest, I think and hope that you will quickly changed this bad rule. [Editor's note: Congress passed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"-repeal measure Dec. 18.] Generally, I think that being gay in the United States is much more easy than here in Polandnot because of law but because of the population's mentality.
WCT: Regarding population, are there many Blacks or Africans in Poland?
Krystian Legierski: I know personally maybe 10 Black people in Poland. (There are, naturally, many more than 10 Blacks in Poland, but I'm trying to give you a picture of the general situation.)