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Warsaw to build Queer Museum: Important milestone for LGBT community

Warsaw to build Queer Museum: Important milestone for LGBT community

Image source: © canva
Natalia Witulska,
28.06.2024 13:30

On Thursday, 27 June, Krzysztof Kliszczyński of Lambda Warszawa and Warsaw Deputy Mayor Aldona Machnowska-Góra announced the creation of a Queer Museum in the Polish capital. This museum will be the third of its kind in Europe and the fifth in the world.

Despite increasing discussion about the LGBT community, Polish society remains largely uninformed about this minority. In our country, right-wing political factions often condemn equality parades as scandalous events, and representatives from groups like the United Right or the Confederation frequently direct hurtful words towards non-heteronormative individuals. This highlights the crucial need for the forthcoming facility in Warsaw, which can potentially bring about significant change.

The establishment of a Queer Museum in Warsaw will undoubtedly mark a historic moment for the Polish capital. It will be the first such institution in our country dedicated to showcasing the history of the LGBT movement in Poland, even during periods before terms like 'gender identity' and 'queer' were widely recognised. Visitors to the museum will be able to gain a deeper understanding of the rainbow community. It will provide non-heteronormative individuals with a place where their stories can be acknowledged and celebrated.

Queer Museum: A safe space for everyone

The Queer Museum will be located at 83 Marszałkowska St. Previously a bank, the building now displays a prominent rainbow flag on its exterior wall, signalling imminent changes. This flag, sewn in 2005 by Lambda Warsaw, was initially prepared for the Equality Parade, which was prohibited by the city's then-mayor, Lech Kaczyński.

Visible on the displayed flag are traces of arson and other damage, remnants of the Equality March in Lublin several years ago. During this event, participants were targeted with flares by far-right organisations. According to Gazeta Wyborcza, the tears on the flag resulted from an attack on a small group flying it from the Łazienkowski Bridge in 2019, commemorating the tragic suicide of LGBT activist Milo Mazurkiewicz. The assailants attempted to seize the flag and toss it into the river.

"This museum holds immense significance for Warsaw as it narrates the city's identity," stated Aldona Machnowska-Góra, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw, during a media interview. The city stands with you and will continue to stand with you, and I hope we can achieve many things together."

Krzysztof Kliszczyński, the director of the forthcoming museum, added, "Establishing a cultural institution is a profound endeavour, but it also fulfils my dream of having such a museum in our city."

Poland's first LGBT movement history museum

"The museum aims to tell a story that historians have long neglected. The history of Warsaw and all of Poland encompasses queer history—it is our shared history," explained historian and cultural studies scholar Joanna Ostrowska, a member of the Queer Museum programme board, in an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza. "This institution will not only serve as an exhibition and archival centre but also as an educational hub."

The Queer Museum, currently under development in the Polish capital, will not operate as a municipal institution. Instead, it will be managed by Lambda Warszawa, an organisation dedicated to promoting equality and respect and supporting the LGBT community. The organisation's staff will lease premises from the city under favourable terms. The museum, focusing on the history of the rainbow movement in Poland, is set to open in September 2024.

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza

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