Over 10,000 Poles participate in Pride parade in Warsaw

Over 10,000 Poles participate in Pride parade in Warsaw

Parades have been taking place in Poland during Pride month as organisers call for LGBTQ rights to be expanded in the largely conservative and mostly Catholic country.

Pride parades in Poland have traditionally been more of a protest event than an opportunity to party, as they are in some of Europe's more LGBTQ-friendly cities.

But last week, a march in Warsaw drew over 20,000 people including two government ministers for the first time - deputy prime minister Krzysztof Gawkowski and Equality minister Katarzyna Kotula, who are both from The Left party.

According to Brussels-based NGO ran Rainbow Map, Poland this year was ranked as the worst country in the European Union for the LGBTQ community for the fifth consecutive year. The index takes into account the legal, political and social environment for LGBTQ people in each country in Europe.

Under the slogan "Equality is Now" the parade organisers say that Poland should recognise same-sex marriage, introduce an anti-hate speech law to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination and exclusion.

Currently, Poland doesn't recognise same-sex marriage and same-sex couples are banned from adopting children as many other European countries do.

Equality minister Katarzyna Kotula from the Left party of the government's current coalition has said that progress towards introducing same-sex civil partnerships for the first time in Poland had been made, however it has to be approved by other members of the coalition, including the centre-right Polish People's Party.

The nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party was adamantly against what it called "LGBTQ ideology" when it was the ruling party and before it was voted out of power last year. But Poland's new government led by Donald Tusk has promised to improve LGBTQ rights, although it has yet to pass any legislation.