Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A Club for All Poles

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A Club for All Poles

Article excerpt

I'm a 27-year-old Polish black man. This is an explosive combination in itself--Poland has a very small black population, so I stand out. Of course, being gay in a Catholic country isn't a bed of roses either.

Many straight people in Warsaw have misconceptions about gay people. That's because the city's gay population cocoons within a gay ghetto where there are more than a dozen gay clubs. I felt like it was time to mix things up, so I opened a club for anyone and everyone who was open-minded. Debuting two years ago, Le Madame quickly became a vital hot spot on the map of Warsaw, providing office space to ecological and human rights organizations by day and by night hosting alternative bands, theater companies, and patrons wanting to drink, dance, or engage in rigorous late-night political discourse.

Le Madame became a major hub of intellectual life in Warsaw. One of the public-TV channels even chose it as a setting for its book review program. We proved that gay and straight people could flourish in the same space and participate in the same cultural, artistic, and political events--without intolerance or homophobia. …

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