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Nobel laureate refuses local honor over Poland’s LGBT divide

ByReiss Bowler

Sep 25, 2020

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk has rejected honorary citizenship from the region of Poland where she lives on the grounds that she should have shared the honor with a Roman Catholic bishop who has made hostile comments about the LGBT community.

Tokarczuk said in a tweet on Friday that while she appreciated being considered, she “unfortunately” could not accept Lower Silesia as honorary citizenship. She said it, along with Bishop Ignacy Dec, would highlight Poland’s “painful break” over LGBT rights.

“I do not want to be the object of such actions and not an element in this game,” said Tokarczuk, the 2018 Nobel Prize winner for literature and an outspoken advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Dec has repeatedly described the LGBT rights movement as a threat to the Catholic Church and to Poland, which is predominantly Catholic.

Local councilors associated with the Polish Civil Opposition Party, the Civil Coalition Party, nominated Tokarczuk as an honorary citizen, while members of the right-wing Law and Justice party running the country Dec.

Tokarczuk, who lives in the native of the southwestern city of Wroclaw, said she was honored with the recognition but could not accept the honor.

“Rather than being a joyous celebration of the sense of community, it is a vivid illustration of the painful divide in our society,” she said.

Poland has had heated debates over LGBT rights in recent months, including after right-wing President Andrzej Duda described the movement as worse than communism as part of his reelection campaign.

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