(CNN) — “You don’t belong here.”
Hundreds of regions across Poland — covering about a third of the country — have transformed themselves into so-called “LGBT-free zones.”
For many gay, lesbian and transgender Poles, merely existing is an act of defiance.
Hundreds of regions across Poland have declared themselves “LGBT-free” — and those inside the zones fear for their safety.
Last year, the surrounding Bielsko county — which includes Kozy and dozens of other towns and villages, but not Bielsko-Biala — passed a resolution supporting “traditional family values” and rejecting the LGBT community for “undermining the concept of a family model.”
These areas, where opposition to LGBT “ideology” is symbolically written into law at state and local levels, have put Poland on a collision course with the European Union and forced sister cities, allies and watchdogs across the continent to recoil in condemnation. Local laws have been contested, and some communities that introduced such legislation have seen their EU funding blocked.
But the impact is felt most painfully — and daily — by the gay, lesbian and transgender Poles who live in towns that would prefer they simply weren’t there.