By Hanne M. Rustad, Head of Coverage, ISFiT21

The right-wing populist party that is governing in Poland are right now working on a proposal to criminalize and abolish sexual health education, as well as adding further restriction on abortion laws. The board of ISFiT was in Warsaw, Poland last November to visit Amnesty Poland and learn more about their work in the country. During their visit, the board learned about how identity and sexuality is part of the political debate.

 

The ISFiT board visiting Warzaw in November 2019. Photo: Frøy E. Hamstad

The vice president of ISFiT, Signe Dahl, wrote about this in the Trondheim-based student paper Under Dusken. She wrote about how universal rights, such as sexual rights and the right to not be discriminated on the basis of gender and sexuality, are something that should not be negotiated. She also points out how these proposals are part of a bigger movement in Poland, where the political party in power uses their voice and influence to spread the belief that sexual health education is linked to pedophilia, as well as linking sexual health education to what they believe are immoralities of the LGBTIQ+ movement.

This is very closed linked to the ISFiT21 theme of Creating Knowledge. The government is dealing with these proposals in a time when the people of Poland are dealing with a pandemic. This can affect the knowledge that is spread about these proposals and limit their possibility to contribute to the debate. Further, what they are proposing will possibly shape the knowledge of the next generation in the country, by making the spread of knowledge about sexual health a crime, not only in schools but also in private homes.

In times like this, with the Corona-pandemic, it is hard for people to protest. That is why it is important that we talk, write, and read about this. The knowledge we possess is a tool to a better understanding of other people, of the world and of ourselves.