History | November 30, 2020 11:02 am

Chopin May Have Had Male Lovers, and Poland Is Mad

Aggressively anti-LGBTQ Poland is not happy with this new info

Congrats to Poland on the new gay icon.
General Photographic Agency/Getty Image

Poland is known for lots of things: kielbasa, pierogi, Pope John Paul II, and, of course, some of the most aggressively anti-LGBTQ attitudes in the Western world.

Same-sex marriage is prohibited in the nation, and multiple Polish political leaders have been outspoken in their condemnation of LGBTQ individuals. Earlier this year, Andrzej Duda called homosexuality “an ideology worse than communism,” and the country has been named the worst in the EU for LGBTQ rights.

Naturally, a new documentary claiming that Poland’s golden boy, composer Frederic Chopin, may have had homosexual affairs, isn’t sitting well with the conservative folks of Poland.

“Chopin’s Men,” a Swiss radio documentary that aired earlier this month, argues scholars and biographers have long ignored evidence pointing to Chopin’s romantic involvement with other men, mistranslating letters in which the composer penned a “flood of declarations of love aimed at men.”

“He’s talking about love so directly with men,” the documentary’s producer Moritz Weber told CNN. “Why wasn’t that questioned by all these scholars and famous biographers?”

The news hasn’t gone over particularly well in Poland, where at least one-third of the nation’s towns and villages have symbolically declared themselves “LGBT-free zones” in aggressively homophobic, if legally meaningless, stunts.

The Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw has attempted to downplay the evidence, claiming Chopin’s “musical and complicated” language is difficult to translate and not necessarily proof of homosexuality, according to the Times of London. Meanwhile, Polish media has exploded with skepticism and derision, according to CNN, with headlines including: “Chopin kisses his friend. Does that mean he was gay?” and “The West is excited that Chopin was gay.”

“He is a symbol of Poland, but you’ve got a government now which is absolutely anti-gay — and were he to be gay, God knows what they would make of it,” Rose Cholmondeley, president of the UK’s Chopin Society, told CNN. “When somebody’s an icon, an awful lot of things are suppressed.”