Warsaw, Poland – Located at the very heart of Europe, Poland has much to offer and a proud history. It is also a country which has progressed in a phenomenal way in recent decades and is starting to be seen as a more forward-thinking country in numerous area of life, from the booming business environment to the approach towards divisive social issues.
The changing nature of Polish society can be seen in how some previously held social taboos are changing. But which ones are we talking about exactly? Here are a few examples.
Homosexuality and the LGBT+ community
A social taboo which is seeing real change in Poland is homosexuality and, more broadly, the rights of sexual minorities. Considering this was not seen as acceptable in Polish society during previous decades, being openly gay or a member of the LGBT+ community was simply not an option for those living in Poland – especially in smaller towns or more rural areas. But many signs seem to suggest that attitudes are starting to change and slowly move towards greater tolerance, as exemplified by the growing visibility of the LGBT community. Nevertheless, the struggle for LGBT+ rights in Poland, which remains one of the most conservative European countries on this topic and where LGBT rights are frequently used as a divisive issue by politicians, is still very real and far from over.
Religion still plays a huge part in Polish society, one of the most devout in Europe, and the majority of the country’s population is practicing Roman Catholics. The influence of the Polish Catholic Church on Polish society, which remains very real to this day, meant that atheism was a significant taboo in the past, and that identifying as an atheist could become a real stigma. This too is slowly changing, with reports pointing to rising sentiment of atheism, especially in cities and among younger generations, and a growing number of Poles losing faith in the Church as a political and social institution.
Evidence of changing social taboos in Poland can be seen in attitudes towards gambling, where a previous distrust towards this type of entertainment is slowly being challenged by more open behaviour. This is particularly true for online casino gambling, which became legal and regulated in the late 2000s. Although this led to only state-backed casino sites being eligible to operate within the country officially, there are some top iGaming sites for Polish players who operate offshore as well.
Abortion and women’s rights
Poland has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, which the government tightened even more last year to virtually ban almost all abortions performed in the country. The legal status surrounding the termination of pregnancies, on top of the hold of the Catholic Church on this issue, had previously made abortion a taboo in Polish life. But as a result of recent governmental attempts to further restrict abortions, on top of a long-standing trend that saw large parts of Polish society become more aware of the need to protect women’s rights, the issue is no longer simply brushed aside, as exemplified by the mass protests organized by feminist organizations and human rights groups last year.