The citizens of Slupsk, Poland, have elected the first ever openly gay mayoral candidate in their country. The election of the gay mayor is believed to be a positive sign of Poland’s social acceptance of the gay and lesbian community.
The recently elected 38-year-old, named Robert Biedroń, had made world headlines several years before, when he was announced to be the first openly gay Polish mayor. In 2011, he was elected to Poland’s house of Parliament, making him the first openly gay member of Poland’s Parliament. Not only is Biedroń a politician, but also a social activist. He is known to speak publicly about the Polish gay and lesbian community and is currently serving on the board of the Polish Campaign Against Homophobia.
Robert Biedroń is a highly educated man, who holds many degrees in the fields of law, human rights and economics. He is currently in a relationship with his life partner Krzysztof Śmiszek; sorry fellas he’s taken.
Within the last 10 years, Poland has been actively changing their views on its gay and lesbian population. Poland has a deep-rooted history of a highly conservative and Catholic foundation, only to have been augmented after Poland’s entrance into the European Union, in 2004. Prior to that, a large portion of its gay and lesbian community remained ‘in the closet’ , while small groups banded together and picket for equality.
In an interview held by the associated press several days before the election, Biedroń was quoted to have said:
“I see how fast Polish society has learned its lesson of tolerance. So I am very optimistic and happy with Polish Society and proud.”
It has been reported that after Biedroń announced his plans to run for mayoral office, a large group of candidates publicly announced that they too were homosexual. The media dubbed the phenomenon as the, ” Biedroń effect”.
Although none of the candidates won their elected position, it is still considered a huge leap forward for equality in the country’s gay and lesbian community.
The city of Slupsk is reported to be one of the most indebted in the country. Biedroń appears to be very optimistic about the future of the city and has made plans to clean up city hall and eliminating the debts by investing in green energy. Like numerous other political figure heads, he too has taken a vow to live modestly, claiming that instead of a private car and chauffeur he will utilize the city’s mass transit systems.