EU Trainee Interview with Marek Szponik


“As a young European generation we should be aware of existing disproportions regarding LGBT people in different countries”.


Why did you think it was important to continue with a LGBT+ subcommittee?

I got inspired by the presentation of last year’s coordinator, Belinda, and together with Karin we decided that it had to go on. Maybe I am not a born leader type but I felt kind of a moral responsibility to carry on the work that had already been done by the former trainees.

As trainees, what can we do to improve the LGBT+ community’s situation?

We don’t have that much power as trainees to influence real politics of the EU, but I believe that as a young European generation we should be aware of existing extreme disproportions regarding everyday life of LGBT people in different countries. Moreover, participating in Belgian Pride with hundreds of European and rainbow flags was a symbolic moment of giving visibility to LGBT people working for the EU, but also a clear message for all the rest that the EU bubble has its queer side as well.

Which kind of activities are being organized by the subcommittee?

All kinds of them, starting with a pub crawl in Brussels’ gay district, movie nights or a Dinner Debate to learn about differences in LGBT rights situation across Europe, but also more official lectures sessions with experts from ILGA-Europe or EEAS. And of course IDAHOT, that turned out to be a huge success concerning the engagement that the Commission, EEAS and the Council expressed by organising panels and talks about homophobia and transphobia or illuminating Berlaymont in rainbow colours. That happened for the first time in the EU history and it makes us very proud to be part of this amazing shift. And of course I don’t have to mention how big success was our participation in Pride this year together with Egalité and Stand Up For Europe. The effect of it went beyond our expectations when it comes to our media visibility and number of participants.

Did you expect the high participation of trainees in the subcommittee?

I am satisfied with the results. What makes our subcommittee even more active is the synergy effect of cooperation with LGBT+ trainees from the Parliament and the Council. As Queer Stagiaires we have more possibilities, visibility and we create huge change together.

Can people still join? What do they have to do?

Of course they can, it’s never too late. Just follow us in our LGBT+ Subcommittee group or like Queer Stagiaires page and come to one of our next activities. In June we plan a garden party with a movie night and a lunch&learn meeting at ILGA-Europe. Feel invited!

Tell us a little bit more about the situation in your country…

Homophobia is still big in Poland, no civil partnerships solutions and recently our current government released a directive saying that if a Polish citizen wants to get married abroad with a person of the same sex, the obligatory document proving that s/he has single status will not be given. On the other hand, there are some signs of positive change, like huge popularity of Robert Biedron (first openly gay Member of Parlament in Poland, now mayor of Slupsk city), that represents new quality in Polish politics, and there is a chance he will candidate for presidential elections in 2020 – and polls are showing that now he would have around 25% of votes! Also, the mayor of Poznan, Jacek Jaskowiak, was the first mayor that joined the local Gay Pride in Polish history. That makes me very proud of my city.

To finish, what would you recommend us to read or watch during these summer days?

When it comes to literature my heroine is Susan Sontag and her diaries that combine sexuality reflections but also wide range of cultural and philosophical topics. And from LGBT films I would recommend Szumowska’s movie In the name of, winner of Teddy Award at Berlinale. It’s a story of a priest struggling with his desires and in this sense it’s a very Polish story ;).


Written by: María Aparicio

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