August 2019 protest in support of Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski
's statements on LGBT. Sign reads: "away ([down]) with leftist totalitarian ideology", precz (throw away) is also on the crossed-out gay pride flag
In February 2019, Warsaw's liberal mayor Rafał Trzaskowski signed a declaration supporting LGBTQ rights and announced his intention to follow World Health Organization guidelines and integrate LGBT issues into the Warsaw school sex education curricula. PiS politicians objected to the sex education program saying it would sexualize children. PiS party leader Jarosław Kaczyński responded to the declaration, calling LGBT rights "an import" that threatened Poland. The declaration "enraged and galvanized" conservative politicians and conservative media in Poland, according to The Daily Telegraph. The LGBT-free zone declarations are considered to be a reaction to the Warsaw declaration.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the conservative establishment is fearful of a liberal transition that may erode the power of the Catholic Church in Poland in a manner similar to the transition around the Irish Church. Decreasing Church attendance, rising secularization, and sexual abuse scandals have put pressure on the conservative position.
In May 2019, Polish police arrested civil-rights activist Elżbieta Podleśna for putting up posters of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa with the halo painted rainbow colors for the charge of offending religious sentiment, which is illegal in Poland. Also in May, two weeks prior to the 2019 European Parliament election, a documentary on child sex abuse in the Church, was released online. The documentary was expected to hurt the Church-aligned PiS electorally, which led PiS leader Kaczyński to speak heatedly of the Polish nation and children as being under attack by deviant foreign ideas, which led conservative voters to rally around PiS. According to feminist scholar Agnieszka Graff, "The attack on LGBT was triggered by the [Warsaw] Declaration, but that was just a welcome excuse", as PiS sought to woo the rural-traditional demographic and needed a scapegoat to replace migrants.
In August 2019, the Archbishop of Kraków Marek Jędraszewski said LGBT people were like a "rainbow plague" in a sermon commemorating the Warsaw uprising. Not long after, a drag queen simulated his murder on stage.
As of 2019, being openly gay in Poland's small towns and rural areas "[takes] increasing physical and mental fortitude" due to the efforts of Polish authorities and the Catholic Church, according to The Telegraph. Public perceptions, however, have been becoming more tolerant of gays. In 2001, 41 percent of Poles surveyed stated that "being gay wasn’t normal and shouldn’t be tolerated" whereas 24 percent said so in 2017, 5 percent said "being gay was normal" in 2001 while 16 percent said so in 2017.