Warsaw Gay Movement

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Warsaw Gay Movement arms (1987)

The Warsaw Gay Movement (Polish: Warszawski Ruch Homoseksualny, abbreviated: WRH) – was one of the first openly lesbian and gay organizations in Poland; it operated in Warsaw (Poland) between 1987 and 1988. The Warsaw Gay Movement was started in 1987, initially only for gay men. The founders were a group of activists, led by Waldemar Zboralski, Sławomir Starosta and Krzysztof Garwatowski.[1] However, lesbian women began joining the group during its first month of activity.[2][3]

The creation of the WRH was a counter-reaction by Polish gays against Operation Hyacinth,[4] an anti-gay program started by Polish police in November 1985.[5]

The first activities of WRH focused on anti-AIDS prevention and encouraging gay people to obtain HIV-tests. The reaction of the Polish mainstream media to the existence of the Warsaw Gay Movement was positive. WRH activists had an opportunity to present they opinions in weekly newspapers, and on radio and Polish television.[3] The Polish journalists were at the time on the side of Polish lesbian and gays and supported them openly.[5]

The Warsaw Gay Movement was mentioned under the name "Warsaw Homosexual Movement" as a politically active group of the Polish independence movement, by Radio Free Europe analyst Jiří Pehe, in his survey published in 1988 and 1989.[6][7]

In March 1988 the group of 15 activists applied to Warsaw City Hall and filed a formal application to register the Warsaw Gay Movement based on the Associations Act.[1] The Polish government refused it, due to an intervention from general Czesław Kiszczak, minister of Home Affairs, and the decision – influenced by the Catholic Church[8] – was negative on the grounds: "The existence of such an organisation is against the rule of public morality".[1] The group continued its activity in 1988 and in 1990, after communism in Poland had fallen, members of the Warsaw Gay Movement participated in the creation of a new organisation called "Stowarzyszenie Grup Lambda" (en: Lambda Groups Association),[1] an LGBT organisation with wider aims.


  1. ^ a b c d Kostrzewa, Yga; Minałto, Michał; Pietras, Marcin; Szot, Wojciech; Teodorczyk, Marcin; Tomasik, Krzysztof; Zabłocki, Krzysztof; Pietras, Marcin (2010). QueerWarsaw. Historical and cultural guide to Warsaw (whole issue). Translated by Urban, Mateusz; et al. Warsaw: Stowarzyszenie Lambda Warszawa. pp. 201–204. ISBN 978-83-926968-1-0. Retrieved 18 December 2013. (pages 201-204) Archived 17 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Pierre Noël (February 1988). "Nouvelles de Pologne" (in French). Tels Quels Magazine (Belgium). Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b Franz Werner (June 1988). "Pedal in Polen" (in German). Rosa Flieder (Germany). Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  4. ^ Manon Tremblay; Carol Johnson; David Paternotte (2011). The Lesbian and Gay Movement and the State: Comparative Insights Into a Transformed Relationship. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 121–122. ISBN 978-1-4094-1067-6.
  5. ^ a b Olof Hansen (1988). "Polish gay activist tells story of police harassment". The Philadelphia Gay News.
  6. ^ Jiří Pehe (17 November 1988). "Independent Movements in Eastern Europe, page 18, (RAD BR/228)". osaarchivum.org. Open Society Archives. Retrieved 18 December 2013. The Warsaw Homosexual Movement. Founded: Date unknown in Warsaw; has been told unofficially that it will be legalized this year as an independent association. Estimated membership: "A few hundred." Objectives: No aims stated. Leading personalities: Waldemar Zboralski.
  7. ^ Jiří Pehe (13 June 1989). "An Annotated Survey of Independent Movements in Eastern Europe, page 28, (RAD BR/100)". osaarchivum.org. Open Society Archives. Archived from the original on 29 December 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  8. ^ Andrzej Selerowicz (2010). Leksykon kochających inaczej (in Polish). Poznań: Wydawnictwo SOFTPRESS. pp. 19–28. ISBN 83-900208-6-6. Retrieved 18 December 2013.