Poland has its first openly gay elected official

By Rex Wockner

International News

Gay activist and club owner Krystian Legierski was elected to the Warsaw City Council from the city's Mokotow district in the Nov. 21 election.

Although he is a member of the Green Party, Legierski was a candidate on the Social Democrats' party list.

As in many countries, parties rank their candidates on a list and then the number of the candidates who win office is a matter of the percentage of votes the party receives overall.

Legierski is also black, "a very rare feature in Polish homogeneous society," said veteran gay activist Slawek Starosta.

In an interview for this column, Legierski said: "In Poland there are so few blacks that nobody has ever done research on how many there are. It would not pay to do it. But without a black-emancipation movement, and without a strong organization of sexual minorities, after just 20 years of democracy, we have achieved what elsewhere sometimes took generations. Poland showed its tolerant and nondiscriminatory face."

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