Tomasz Rzymkowski, Poland’s new deputy minister of education. (Facebook/ Tomasz Rzymkowski)
Tomasz Rzymkowski, a “dangerous” Polish MP who previously compared same-sex marriage to bestiality, has been promoted to the position of deputy minister of education.
Rzymkowski joined Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) in 2019, but began his political career by representing the far-right ultranationalist party National Movement, which was formed after the country’s 2012 Independence Day march saw violent clashes between right-wing extremists and police.
The National Movement party is xenophobic, anti-Semitic, and strongly opposes LGBT+ rights, Pride marches and inclusive education, claiming homosexuality is a “disease” linked to “paedophilia”.
In 2018, National Movement formed a coalition with the party KORWiN, and together they call themselves Confederation. At the 2019 European Parliament elections, one Confederation leader explained what the coalition stood for: “We don’t want Jews, homosexuals, abortion, taxes and the EU.”
Rzymkowski, 34, personally caused outrage when he shared a cartoon in June last year that compared same-sex marriage to bestiality.
W dniu 28 czerwca wybierzemy nie tylko Prezydenta RP, dokonamy także wyboru cywilizacyjnego. Zdecydujemy miedzy Polską, w której małżeństwem jest związek kobiety i mężczyzny, a Polską w której “małżeństwem” jest związek dwóch panów albo jednego pana z kozą? pic.twitter.com/K7eJdiEZxy
— Tomasz Rzymkowski (@TRzymkowski) June 3, 2020
He wrote on Twitter ahead of the Polish presidential election: “On June 28, we will elect not only the president of the Republic of Poland, we will also make a civilisation choice.
“Will choose Poland, where the marriage is a union of a woman and a man, and Poland where the ‘marriage’ is a union of two men or one man with a goat?”
Rzymkowski, who following his promotion will have huge influence over the country’s education system, has also hit out at the teaching of what he calls “gender ideology” in Polish universities.
He previously said: “[Homosexuality] is harmful both morally and socially, because in my opinion, first of all, it is a sin.
“Second, it is not useful from the point of view of society… the state should not promote, let alone finance or forge, socially harmful behaviour.”
Paulina Matysiak, an MP for the left-wing Left Together party, told VICE: “Tomasz Rzymkowski represents a very dangerous mix of extreme, almost fascist, right with religious fundamentalism, that concentrates most of his public activity on turning people against Jews, foreigners, LGBT+, women and the Left.”
She added: “There is a serious threat that [Rzymkowski and anti-LGBT+ education minister Przemysław Czarnek] could censor educational materials, repress teachers, and try to form pupils in their image and likeness.”
Rzymkowski’s homophobic and transphobic views on education will not be out of place within his party.
PiS, which has frequently targeted LGBT+ rights as an invasive foreign influence that threatens the country’s national identity, previously condemned plans to teach a World Health Organisation-approved sex education program which was inclusive of LGBT+ identities, calling it “an infringement of traditional Catholic values”.