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Warsaw's Gay Pride Parade is overshadowed with fear about the future

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By Daniel Bellamy with AFP
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Warsaw's Gay Pride Parade is overshadowed with fear about the future
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Warsaw's gay pride parade is usually a joyful celebration, but this year it was also tinged with fear of what the future might hold for the rights of gay, bisexual and transgender people.

A year ago Poland's LGBT community faced a backlash from ruling conservative politicians, local communities and the church.

And during his election campaign, President Andrzej Duda declared that "LGBT is not people; it's an ideology''- and he also claimed it was "even more destructive'' than communism.

Meanwhile, dozens of local communities were passing resolutions against "LGBT ideology'' in what was described as an attempt to protect the traditional family.

These were strongly denounced by EU officials but only a handful have since been rescinded.

This weekend's Equality Parade comes 20 years since the event was first held in the Polish capital. But it has not been held every year.

It was banned twice in its early years by a conservative mayor who feared it would promote homosexuality, and last year it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the first event in 2001, Polish society has become largely more open on the issue of gay rights, shaped by EU membership and cultural influences from the West.