BBC LGBT correspondent Ben Hunte told students about the time he spent reporting on Poland’s LGBT- free zones.
Speaking at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism and Media Week event, he said Poland has been named the worst country in the EU for LGBT Rights.
While in Poland, Ben experienced an LGBT protest after an archbishop called the LGBT community a ‘rainbow plague’.
Ben said: “It was a scary experience – to be so open and very clearly I’m an LGBT correspondent – if people don’t like it, they can very easily turn.”
One BBC crew member was arrested during the protest, but they ‘couldn’t be stopped’, said Ben.
He told students that over a third of Poland is an LGBT free zone where any promotion of LGBT equality is not allowed, leading to some leaving their home nation.
Ben showed a video in which a Polish LGBT resident told him: “‘If I can give advice to young people, it would be to leave Poland, it’s not going to be better, I’m sorry.”
But another contributor said he was refusing to leave: “I feel it is my home, I don’t think it is a solution to move away and just live a better life, maybe I am a born fighter.”
Ben spoke about how people in the UK are also struggling with their sexuality, and hate crime is still common towards the LGBT community.
In another documentary, Ben reported: “A few miles from where I’m recording this now, a man has had his back broken for being gay and is in a wheelchair and can’t support himself, literally because of a homophobic hate crime.”
The correspondent also gave some top tips about how to build a successful career in journalism: “Be nice but hustle hard. Eye contact is really important. Fake it until you make it – you’ve only got one moment to shine.”
Ben encourages anyone to get in touch with him to share their LGBT stories so he can use his platform to address these issues. – @BeninLDN