While President Andrzej Duda of Poland was being sworn into office for a second term, members of the Parliament of Poland staged a protest with their rainbow attire to show solidarity with the LGBT community.
The opposition party, composed of left-wing parliamentarians, wore dresses, shirts, and pants suits in the colors of the rainbow, along with coordinating masks, on Aug. 6, as reported by Vogue.
While one half of the room was composed of Duda in a black suit and his wife Agata in a white dress, the opposition mimicked a rainbow. This was to send a message to Duda who is known for his anti-LGBT policies and has a close allyship with Poland’s right-wing Law and Justice party, according to Vogue.
The display created buzz, and the move put Poland’s very serious issues with LGTBQ discrimination on an international stage, as it should. https://t.co/v0wAC210LO— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) August 10, 2020
In the past, Duda has made remarks that “LGBT are not people; they are an ideology” and noted that this ideology was “even more destructive” than communism, according to Watermark. He also pledged to ban adoption by same-sex couples and classes on gay rights in state schools, as reported by Reuters.
There were other acts of solidarity with the LGBT community in Poland.
Rainbow flags were placed around the city, including on a statue of Jesus Christ that was outfitted with a pink mask displaying the symbol for queer anarchism, while the Mermaid of Warsaw held a rainbow flag, according to Human Rights Watch.
Using clothing as a form of political protest happens in the United States as well.
Women of the Democratic party, including Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wore suffragette white at the 2019 State of the Union address.
In 2017, female house Democrats wore sleeveless looks on what was deemed “Sleeveless Friday” to promote more modern dress codes in the House, as reported by The Hill.
“The sight of opposition MPs wearing rainbow colors and rainbow masks at the president’s swearing-in was a welcome symbol of solidarity with Poland’s LGBTQ+ community, which was cynically vilified in Duda’s bid for re-election,” wrote Vogue Poland’s Editor-in-Chief Filip Niedenthal from Warsaw. “But it will take a lot more than photogenic gestures to ensure us our civil rights, which are currently under sustained attack by the right-wing regime, and public media.”
According to a study by ILGA-Europe, Poland ranks the lowest among E.U. countries for LGBT rights based on discrimination and the lack of laws in place to protect the community.