Anja Rubik On Poland’s Frightening Near-Total Ban on Abortion

The LGBTQ+ community in Poland lives in fear. We are a sum of parts, and to allow a faction to be marginalized or discriminated against is abhorrent and cowardly. So much of this behavior is fear-based and ignorant. A Polish church that picks and chooses its dogma to manipulate an outcome is a direct contradiction of where Pope Francis is leading the Catholic faith in 2020 and beyond. To those who are LGBTQ+ phobic, I would ask you to confront your fears and be better. Poland is better than this. We are better than this.

I started a sex-education foundation in Poland in 2017 [called SexedPL]. It wasn’t as much a passion project, as it was a practical solution. For thousands of years, sex has been part of our lives, beyond algebra and physics. We are here, every single one of us, at a cellular level, because of sex. How is it possible to imagine a healthy community where we don’t teach our children about their bodies, their personal boundaries, consent and safe sex? Sex is inherently personal, comes with deep insecurities and dangers, and to simply ignore or reject it is irresponsible and a step backwards for Poland. In 2020, the Polish government is doing its best to censor and ultimately ban sex education. The adults of tomorrow face an isolated and uncertain future without the very best community care and structured education. Our government’s attack on sex education is an attack on our children.

There are moments and days where I feel deflated and terrified. Let me be clear: I feel I’m no more significant than the next Polish citizen. My family and community are riddled with anxiety and uncertainty. I watch the protests on the streets, provoked by the abortion ruling, with a mixture of pride and terror as I wonder how our Poland has become this place. After all we have faced over the past 100 years—the adversity, the heroes, the lessons learned—we find ourselves here. I try to stay positive and do everything in my power to support the men and women rebelling against oppression and fighting for our freedom, and the recognition of human rights. During low moments, I share phone calls and conversations with my friends and restore my confidence that we can make the change by being brave and speaking out.

We have learned many things during our lifetime, but a fundamental principle that underpins us is that ‘our Poland’ has the ability to thrive and adapt during crises. There is goodness in every single one of us. We need to remain calm, listen, focus and never undermine our own integrity. We are only free when everyone is equal.

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