When I was a kid, I lived in a middle class Krakow district. In my family, my parents were the first generation who got degrees. Nevertheless, in my neighbourhood most of the people had a middle to low class economy. The first injustice I saw was that I was the privileged kid among my neighbours: I saw I had better toys and clothes than my friends. However, when I went to a private school, I found out that there were kids insanely richer than me. I remember one of those who always tried to offend me with things like “my washer is better than yours.” I was very little, but certainly I realized the economic disproportions and injustices.

I didn't know what to do after high school, so I picked Law due to family pressure and because it’s an “economically valuable” career. It was actually after that when I saw the true possibilities of Law.

Law could be used to create oppressive models and to empower injustice, so I started to look for ways to fight against this. Law is so complicated that it overbears you and is an overwhelming system of small and big rules. This system encompasses so many parts that most of us don’t really know what those rules even do. There’s a huge difference of what’s in the book and the public awareness of the laws that govern us.

I try to deal with every injustice I can, from economic, sexual, even ethnic discrimination. Why? Because people not only have one identity. In many levels, we have intersecting identities that cross with one and other, and depending on those identities, people can experience different levels of discrimination and injustice. If you only deal with one of these issues, you’re leaving a huge group of people aside.

There are a lot of discrimination problems with the LGBTQ community, like not being able to be with their partners, marry them and adopt children with them. Let’s say a bisexual guy has a kid with a woman partner. And then let's say they split up and he would like to adopt his kid with his new partner, who is now a guy... Here in Poland, they couldn't do it. They can raise their kids, obviously, but they’ll never be able to get the legal prerogatives that come with marriage, they can never form an official relationship, they can‘t sign the paper that gives them all the rights.

I began working with sexual rights because at some point I figured out that I’m not the straightest guy alive. It was a slow process to realize that, “well, I like girls, but I like some guys too,” then I was asking myself “Am I bisexual? Or pansexual?” At this moment, I mostly identify myself with bisexuality. Talking to people who are more open with this stuff through the internet was helpful and empowering.

Poland is not only Polish. We have more cultures, we are multireligious and we have conglomerates of identities. The thing is that in the past we used to be a monolithic culture, so Polish people see some of the outside influences as threatening or alien. Over the years, globalization made new generations discover a lot of things that didn’t exist here. This change was a cultural clash, I’d say it causes commotion.  

From my perspective, it’s possible to change people’s minds, especially when they’re submerged into hatred or intolerance. I realized this a day that I was talking to a girl who was spreading fake news and ideas about Jews. I called her anti-Semitic and she was more pissed about this than about the pain she was creating, so I convinced her that her public image is not more important than the community she was hurting. After an hour of conversation, she said, “Holy shit, you are right.” So, I think I can talk to people about my ideas and convince them that there’s a better way to do things.

It’ll be amazing and beautiful to make Krakow an open minded place, a city where all of us can live and coexist with each other, to share our experiences, our differences, viewpoints and achievements, so we can work together for something bigger. I guess that’s my main goal.

Andrés Piña
Krakow, Polonia
It’s possible to change people’s minds, especially when they’re submerged into hatred or intolerance.
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