My name is Bart Staszewski and I grow up in Lublin, east Poland. I am Polish LGBT activist and independent documentary film director.
In 2017, I produced a documentary film – Article 18. It is the most important documentary to date on the LGBT struggle for equality in Poland. I am one of the organizers of the Equality March in Lublin, which was the first Pride march that take place in eastern Poland. I am also member of association „Love Does not Exclude” and one of funders of “Lublin Equality March Association“. I am not employed by any LGBT NGO.
My work for the LGBT community has been recognized internationally. In 2019, I was awarded the European Tolerantia Award. In my acceptance speech, I made it clear that „I treat it as a commitment to [continue my] fight for the rights of the LGBT community”.
Together with a group of amazing lawyers, I managed to stop the distribution of homophobic stickers of Gazeta Polska „LGBT-free zone”.
In 2018 – 2019 I was a formal organizer of the Pride March in Lublin. Five days before the March, on 8 October, the Mayor of Lublin city, Krzysztof Zuk, banned our Pride. Together with our lawyers I appealed against the prohibition decision to the district court, which upheld it. It was revoked the day before the march by the appellate court. At 2019 President of Lublin banned again our Pride.
Province governor (now Polish MEP) Przemyslaw Czarnek stated in 2018 that Pride march I organized was „promoting perversion, deviation and degeneration”. At the same time councilor from Lublin, Tomasz Pitucha said that the Pride is promoting „paedophilia”.I accused them of defamation and submitted private indictments against them. After the long battle in court in 2019 province governor by the court agreement made an apology for his words and councilor has been convicted guilty and had to pay compensation.
Recently, an unprecedented wave of homophobia has occurred in Poland. Since the beginning of 2019, Polish local governments have adopted resolutions that discriminate against LGBT people. Municipalities, counties and provinces in one third of Poland have adopted resolutions against LGBT people.I go to regions that have declared themselves LGBT-free and take pictures of LGBT people who come from there. I have designed a sign that is a symbolic emanation of homophobic resolutions adopted by local governments. Through the pictures I want to show that politicians choose members of their communities as their enemies.
The photos from LGBT-free zones has been recognized internationally.
My work has been recognized by international media on several occasions.
Last time I meet with Andrzej Duda, country conservative President to speak laud about homophobia that he and his party are guilty. It happened weekend event where he described the LGBT rights movement as more dangerous than communism and endorsed another conservative official’s observation that “LGBT is not people, it’s an ideology.”
I arrived at the meeting with photos of young LGBT Poles who had died by suicide while under the psychological strain of discrimination.
I laid them on a table along with a book about homosexuals imprisoned at Auschwitz, and told him of how LGBT people in Poland have been attacked at pride marches.
I wanted to show him those pictures, look in his eyes and show him that I am not an ideology.
After Duda cited freedom of speech to defend his words about “LGBT ideology,” I stood up and left without shaking the president’s hand.
Many people are asking how they can support me – so far I have referred everyone to local LGBT organizations (and I will continue to encourage them), but I thought, why not open a Patronite?
I have been spending more and more time on activism for several years. I’m not employed by any LGBT organization, I don’t receive any scholarships or grants for my activities – I make a living from filming videos for social-media for various NGO and small companies (this is my only source of income). I finance my LGBT activities out of my own pocket, as well as through public crowdfunding and people (including lawyers) who pro bono help me.
Recently, I also opened a channel on YouTube – the films he prepares there are the result of hard work not only by me, but also by Sławek (my boyfriend) and Przemek (cameraman). We also prepare subtitles for each film – there are also English subtitles planned, because there are many questions about it. We also think about a PJM interpreter (for deaf people).
Together with my boyfriend we form a team, the results of which you can see on my social media, and sometimes on TV, national and international media. We make the most of our potential, our time, our strength and our own financial resources to work for the LGBT community.
With your support, we will be able to develop the channel and my activism! I will send you monthly newsletter about my recent actions
If you want to support me go here.
It just takes the cost of one coffee per month to support my activism.
Help me act!