This talk explores the evolution of official perceptions of homosexuality in postwar Poland, from the consolidation of communist rule in 1945 to its ultimate demise in 1989. The lecturer’s focus is on sexual behavior as a form of non-conformity and challenge to the system that sought total control and cultural homogeneity. The party-state’s response to the potential danger of sexual non-conformity differed little from postwar Western European governments. But instead of the gradual liberalization of approaches to same-sex relations in the West that took place since the 1960s, both the communist and Catholic legacies made Poland particularly intolerant toward homosexuality.

About the speaker: Dr. Michal Kwiecien received his doctorate in modern European history at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013. Michał is a history teacher at Whitfield School in Creve Coeur, Missouri. His courses focus on human rights and the history of genocide in modern world history.