“Lesbians in the Middle: Lesbian Organizing in Poland-An Interview with Romana Ciesla”

By Tanya Renne

“My name is Romana and this is Violeta. We are lovers from Krakow and the organization Lambda.. We try to be active members of Lambda; for two years we have organized lesbian meetings-gatherings, trips. We correspond with lesbians all over Poland. We gave an advertisement to a gay newspaper.. a short letter of appeal about lesbian women with the main question, ‘Are there any lesbians in Poland?’ ‘If there are please write to us’- please appear, please let us know that you are out there, let’s make connections in Poland. Let’s be together. it was our idea to let lesbians know about each other. From this appeal we got thirty or forty responses; that was 1991. We organized the first meeting in Krakow for those women who wrote letters. They wanted to meet each other, so we organized our first meeting in Krakow in June 1991..Our main purpose was to let them all know we exist-that we are all similar in spite of the fact we are different; we have so much in common. It taught us self-confidence and power. This was the best thing for lesbians in Poland because we are so isolated and living separately, especially in small towns and villages. Some are so poor and completely uncertain of their identity.”

Our goals are to coordinate a community to encourage other women to contact each other, as well as to meet and edit a lesbian newspaper.. The worst thing is that we still have no activists in Polish lesbian groups. Most of the women are passive-they are still waiting, waiting for something to happen. Truthfully speaking, we, too, are passive, not true leaders. We would like to do something, but together with others, or support somebody who would like to make things happen, but people only look around and ask what is in it for them. So the situation is very difficult, sometimes too difficult for us.” (66-67)

Ana’s Land: Sisterhood in Eastern Europe. Edited by Tanya Renne. Westview Press 1997

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