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Pride Month Sermon

Pride Month Sermon

  Mati Kirschenbaum Being an LGBT person in Poland is a sport discipline requiring a will to fight and fortitude. A few years ago I would have compared it to a 3000m steeplechase race. It is an exhausting athletic discipline, but after the first lap around the stadium you already know what to expect, the obstacles do not change. Thanks to this, despite the growing fatigue, subsequent laps are technically easier. However, over the course of the past two years the number of obstacles faced by LGBT people in Poland has increased and it’s still increasing. Five voivodeship and dozens of smaller local government entities have passed resolutions deeming themselves "LGBT ideology-free” zones or simply “LGBT-free” zones. Last year’s equality march in Białystok was met with a wave of violence and the opponents of the march in Lublin brought home-made bomb to it. All this happened with the support of the Catholic Church, which called LGBT people the “rainbow plague”. This year the condoning of discrimination and violence has moved to the national level. On June 13th, while defending the homophobic rhetoric of the government’s representatives, President Andrzej Duda stated that “they are trying to convince us [Poles], that [LGBT persons] are people, when in fact it is simply an ideology.” A member of his electoral campaign, MP Przemysław Czarnek, echoed his words, saying: “Let’s stop listening to this nonsense about some human rights or equality. These people are not equal to normal people.” Within less than two weeks from President Duda’s words Poland has witnessed a wave of assaults on LGBT people; among others, Andrzej Duda’s former barber was beaten up. At least one person committed suicide because of the rhetoric of the President of Poland. For two weeks now I’ve been obsessively reading articles about these incidents. At first I didn’t know why I was so shaken up by them. Only yesterday did I realize that the reports full of descriptions of verbal and physical abuse have reminded me about an event in my life that I would rather erase from my memory. On New Year’s Eve 2008 I got beaten up by three thugs in the center of Wrocław. The assault’s motive was robbery, but while my assailants were kicking me (everywhere, including the head, luckily along the skull), they were yelling homophobic slogans. Covered in blood I came back home, from where my friend’s father took me to the hospital. At the hospital a helpful doctor manually realigned my displaced nose without anesthesia (yes, it hurt) and he prescribed me painkillers and tranquillizers. I was really lucky that no one kicked me in the head from a different angle – or I might not be here today. Why am I writing about this today? Because most Polish LGBT persons are facing either verbal or physical abuse. Because while you cannot beat up “LGBT ideology”, you can definitely beat up a person – for example me. Because when I reported the assault, the policeman said that the accompanying homophobic shouts were not relevant to the case, since Poland does not prosecute homophobia- and transphobia- motivated crimes. And then he refused to mention them in the case file. Because Poland does not treat homophobic motives for violence on par with  other groups at risk of violence. Because I find it terrifying that 12 years later the situation of LGBT persons in Poland has not improved. Because I don’t want to be treated as a second-class citizen as a Polish LGBT person. Because I want to show today’s LGBT youth that one can still lead a good life following such a trauma. Because discrimination, fear and lately also violence is something Polish LGBT persons face every day. And this won’t change unless you undertake actions to help them. Here and now, in the last days of the Month of Pride in being an LGBT person; the pride that Polish LGBT people often have to hide.

Mati Kirschenbaum

Translated from Polish by: Marzena Szymańska-Błotnicka

 
Pinchas
Balak
Pride Month Sermon
For Shavuot
Bamidbar
EMOR
Acharei Mot
YOM HAZIKARON AND YOM HA’ATZMA’UT
Shemini
SHABBAT CHOL HAMO’ED
Vayikra
Terumah
Yitro
BESHALLACH
VAYECHI
Vayigash
CHANUKAH
Vayeshev
VAYESHEV
Vayera.
NOACH
Too Big, It Must Fail
CHOL HAMOED SUKOT
Haazinu
Ki Tetzei
Chazon
Matot-Massei
Pinchas
Pinchas
KORACH
Force of habit, passivity, fear and their consequences
The King and his Son. Thoughts on Parashat Naso
On Jewish Unity and Diversity. Thoughts on Parasha Bamidbar
Whom Can We Trust?
Has the Time Come For a Jubilee Year?
EMOR
Once Again About the Needy
PESSACH  2019
Ideological wars and social unrest: what can we do about them?
The World Between Order and Chaos
TZAV
Democracy and Responsibility. Thoughts on Parasha Vajikra.
What’s the Role of Religion?
TETZAVEH
What does the Tabernacle symbolize?
A Good Example Shows the Way
Chaos and hate – our outer and inner enemy
Freedom Once Gained Must Never Be Given Up
Parashat Vayera
One Person Can Change the History of the Entire World
Divine Actions Viewed as the Sum of Human Actions
Turning point. Thoughts on the parashat Miketz
Enslaved in Parental Lack of Attention and Brotherly Jealousy
Wrestling in the night
To lie or not to lie? Thoughts on Parashat Vayetze
Infertility – A Shared Problem
External and Internal Beauty.
Local Government vs Sodom
LECH LECHA
The meaning of life. Thoughts on parashat Lech Lecha.
Trying Our Best – Just Like Noah Did
Killing Anger. Thoughts on Parashat Bereshit.
An Ephemeral Booth or a Lasting Legacy? How Should We View Our Lives?
SUKKOT
Is Progress Actually Always Progress? Thoughts on Parashat Haazinu.
YOM KIPPUR 2018 JONAH
KOL NIDRE
Nabożeństwo Jom Kipur | Yom Kippur Prayer 2018
Standing Before the Heavenly Court
ROSH HASHANAH MORNING
EREV ROSH HASHANAH
To love is to see potential. Thoughts on Parashat Nitzavim
Time to be grateful [Ki Tavo]
Elul – the Month of Judgment
Good fortune and justice. Thoughts on Parashat Ree.
SHABBAT EKEV
Who will hear my Shma?
The role of women in traditional Judaism. Reflection on parashat Pinchas.
Thoughts on Parashat Bamidbar
What Kind of Society is “Without Blemish”?
Pesach: Matzah, Spring and Freedom
Vayakhel and Pekudei – Candles, Blessing, Shabbat!
Cindy Paley Poland Tour 2017
Concert Neal Brostoff&Marcin Król – Hebrew Melodies