LGBT rights groups say that thousands of gays and lesbians are leaving Poland as a result of its homophobic government.

Speaking to London’s The Daily Mail, Robert Biedron, head of the Polish Foundation Against Homophobia, has said that many of the unofficial refugees have moved to Germany and the UK.

“It is incredible. The Polish gay community has just moved away because of the climate of fear and persecution… Most of the people I know are now in England because of the current political situation. Not for economic reasons, but because of the persecution of homosexuals going on here,” Biedron told the newspaper.

He added that his organisation was regularly approached by gays and lesbians who needed help in emigrating to other countries.

“It’s impossible for gays to be themselves in Poland,” said Biedron.

The Polish government recently came under fire after it proposed new legislation that would “punish anyone who promotes homosexuality” in schools and education establishments with dismissal, fines or prison terms.

In May, an estimated 5000 people marched through the streets of Poland’s capital in Warsaw’s first legal gay Pride parade in three years. During the tenure of Lech Kaczynski – currently the country’s President – as Mayor of Warsaw, Pride events between 2004 and 2006 were banned by his office.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that a ban on a gay Pride march in Warsaw in 2005 was illegal and discriminatory, and the European Parliament has asked the Polish government to, “Publicly condemn and take measures against declarations by public leaders inciting discrimination and hatred based on sexual orientation.”

Earlier this month, Poland’s state-run television broadcaster cut a gay kiss from the British comedy series, Little Britain, while a state official called for an investigation on whether the BBC children’s show Teletubbies was promoting homosexuality because one of the characters, Tinky Winky, carries a handbag.

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