The Promised of Free Love - From the Closet to Utopia

photo: Vera Kondratiuk

Every large city offers anonymity, and in Poland there is no larger city than Warsaw. For this reason it draws homosexuals from the entire country; this is where they have maximum freedom. Here they are able to come out of the closet far away from their biological families and the pressure of their native environment. Warsaw is the most secular centre in Poland, so pressures from the church hierarchy and conservative values are also negligible. Almost everyone here is from somewhere else and has brought to Warsaw a piece of their own culture. Some forms of behaviour or dress styles, when seen in a public space, arouse less of a reaction here than elsewhere; there are clubs where nothing comes as a surprise at all. Hence Warsaw is a pink, if not always happy, island of Polish gays; bureaucratic difficulties recently encountered by the organisers of Warsaw’s Gay Pride parade demonstrate clearly that the ideal is still elusive. It is noteworthy that the most exclusive and hermetic gay club in Warsaw, whose threshold the majority of Polish gays dream of crossing just once in their lives, is called “Utopia”. On the other hand, repression and protests from officialdom have significantly increased the popularity of, and participation in, Gay Pride parades – administrative prohibitions seem to be quite counterproductive here.

Interesting note: this is perhaps the place to recollect that although the legendary founders of Warsaw, Wars and Sawa (pronounced Sava), were a man and a woman according to tradition, Sava is an Old-Slavonic male name.