In the 3 years since the pandemic lockdown forced the cancellation of Warsaw’s parada równości, the celebration of equality, the event, as it has returned, has been unmissable. Last year, due to the many refugees fleeing the War in Ukraine, and with the city under bombardment, it could not have its own, the Warsaw parade was held alongside KyivPride. This year, at Warsaw Pride 2023, though there was no official collaboration that I could see, there was still a large Ukrainian contingent celebrating with the Varsovians.
For as long as I have been in Poland, I have seen a steady, marked rise in anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric from the right of the country. With trans rights currently the culture war battlefield du jour, lying unspoken beneath the excitement of the day, there remains present a feeling that is hard to dismiss that the far-right may make trouble. Nevertheless, in the stifling heat of midsummer Warsaw, revellers gathered at Park Świętokrzyski ebullient and joyful.
For the several hours that the dancing, singing, undulating snake of celebration passes through Warsaw’s streets, all concerns of provincial bigotry vanish and the parade becomes one of togetherness and community – one that I feel privileged to be part of, albeit a straight-cis interloper and observer. Warsaw Pride 2023 was a huge success, may the celebrations get bigger every year.