After Going ‘Free of L.G.B.T.,’ a Polish Town Pays a Price

Andrew Higgins at The New York Times::

KRASNIK, Poland — When local councilors adopted a resolution two years ago declaring their small town in southeastern Poland “free of L.G.B.T.,” the mayor didn’t see much harm in what appeared to be a symbolic and legally pointless gesture.

Today, he’s scrambling to contain the damage.

What initially seemed a cost-free sop to conservatives in the rural and religiously devout Polish borderlands next to Ukraine, the May 2019 decision has become a costly embarrassment for the town of Krasnik. It has jeopardized millions of dollars in foreign funding and, Mayor Wojciech Wilk said, turned “our town into a synonym for homophobia,” which he insisted was not accurate.

My paternal grandparents fled Poland more than 100 years ago. I know Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans who visited the ancestral country and had a wonderful time. Not me — no desire to go to Poland and be subjected to bigotry.

Before homophobia, Poland led the world in anti-Semitism.

While my paternal grandparents were exiting Poland, my maternal grandparents left Lithuania. But I don’t think of us as being from Poland or Lithuania. We’re from New York.

To be clear, I am delighted this village is suffering for its bigotry, and look forward to reports of it suffering even more.