Celebs seek crowd-funding for LGBTQ rights in Poland

Warsaw, Poland: A Nobel Prize laureate joined celebrities on Tuesday to launch a global crowd-funding platform intended to support LGBTQ rights in Poland, whose populist leaders have reaped harsh criticism on the issue.

Gay rights have become a flashpoint issue in the EU member country under the governing right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, which campaigns against what it calls "LGBT ideology".

Olga Tokarczuk, who won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, Oscar-nominated film director Agnieszka Holland and Emmy-award-winning "Queer Eye" host Antoni Porowski are among the high-profile members of the Equaversity Foundation.

"We've started this NGO that will help raise funding all around the world to help support Polish organizations that work in this field (LGBTQ rights)," supermodel Anja Rubik told journalists at the foundation's online launch.

Its website is set up to use electronic payment platforms like PayPal to gather funds from across the globe.

In December, the Council of Europe classed Poland's record for LGBTQ rights as the worst in the European Union and said leading politicians had made the situation even worse in recent years.

Powerful PiS party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has described gay people as a threat to the traditional family, while President Andrzej Duda has equated "LGBT ideology" with communism.

With support from the government, several regions have also declared themselves free from "LGBT ideology" in Poland.

In a broadside aimed at the PiS, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen warned last September that so-called LGBT-free zones have "no place in our union".

Last month, dozens of ambassadors to Poland called for the protection of LGBTQ rights in the country.

The letter was signed by diplomats from 40 countries, including the US and most of Poland's EU partners, as well as representatives from the European Commission, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), and other organizations.

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