Queer in Poland: Autobiographies

Queer in Poland: Autobiographies

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LGBT+ is us. It’s your uncle, your neighbour, your classmate, your employee. It’s who you buy food from at the grocery. It’s who you meet at a cafe or in the waiting room at a doctor’s office. It’s who pays the same taxes as you. It’s who has the same political views as you and who sees the world the same way you do.

It’s who writes diaries.

What makes them “them” is access to rights. The love of LGBT+ people in Poland is taboo; it’s whispered about over Christmas Eve supper, railed against by a passer by, looked at scornfully by neighbours, or cast out of the home by a father who couldn’t stand the presence of someone who didn’t “look normal.” When LGBT+ people visit hospitals, they aren’t told how their loved ones are doing. When they file taxes, they can’t do it with their loved ones. They can’t marry the person they love. They are systematically oppressed by the institutions of the state, and this gives rise to public hatred from society, family, the Church.

As we read these diaries of LGBT+ people, we may see ourselves in them, but also much more. They speak of the carelessness of youth and the joy of first loves, but also of the bitter pain of everyday life, the hatred and aggression that leads to tragedy. The stories that you’ll find here have been lived, and the ones who tell them are those who lived them. The image they paint can terrify, but it also testifies to the will to live and to fight for one’s own identity.

The situation of non-heteronormative people in Poland is cause for alarm. This is plain to see in the reports of Polish LGBT+ organisations, as well as in the ILGA Europe ranking, where Poland has been ranked in last place of all countries in the European Union since 2020. Experts also stress that in Poland homophobia is intertwined with a systemic, institutionalised discrimination of LGBT+ people. If this is to change, we need to speak about it as loudly as we can.

The diaries of LGBT+ people contained in this volume are the result of a pioneering research effort by the Research Center for LGBT+ History and Identities, a part of the Institute for Applied Social Sciences at the University of Warsaw, with support from the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Warsaw. Supporting and implementing projects aimed at combating the rise of homophobia and transphobia is a part of the stated purpose of our Foundation and speaks to a desire to engage in the defence of universal human rights—freedom, dignity, equality, and democracy.

Let us rest awhile and listen to these very personal histories.

Product details
Date of Publication
December 2023
Heinrich Böll Foundation Warsaw
Number of Pages
Language of publication
Table of contents

Preface   I

Introduction: Black Spangles   III

Contest Guidance    XXIX

1 [For those of us…]   1

2 DOMA My Dear Lesbian Diary!   17

3 MARCIN    39

4 ADA ŁANIEWICZ Diary of a Lesbian from a County Town   51

5 Angelism    85

6 [Before]   98

7 MIA Uncaged   103

8 TOSIA kToś(ka)   108

9 ANDRZEJ Apples with mustard   121

10 NINA   128

11 A Small Town Diary    151

12 ŁUKASZ    155

13 MAX PIEKART If Only Mum Knew    159

14 ANNA NADAR, “BUN” Against the Grain   210


16 TOMASZ JANOTA History of a transgender person  306

17 TOM(ASZ) SZOSTEK 10 Years in Canada  314

18 MAGDA  316

19 KORDIAN A Diary   322

20 KINGA KOSIŃSKA Greetings from My Loneliness    328

21 L. TYBERIUSZ OLSZEWSKI About a Boy Who Doesn’t Exist   341


23 OLGA GÓRSKA Memories of Growing Up. Excerpts    372