Walesa and the street named for him
S.F. May Rename Lech Walesa Street

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com March 13 2013 7:35 PM ET

A San Francisco city supervisor wants to rename Lech Walesa Street, perhaps in honor of the late gay activist Tom Waddell, in light of recent antigay remarks by Walesa, the former president of Poland.

The Tom Waddell Health Center is located on the street, which is essentially a small alleyway, Bay City News Service reports. Waddell, a physician and amateur athlete, worked at the center and was founder of the Gay Olympics, later renamed the Gay Games.

Supervisor Jane Kim said she wants to get LGBT San Franciscans’ input on the potential name change before introducing any legislation. “I want to reach out and make sure [Waddell’s] the appropriate person, or if people want to see it just go back to the original name,” she told the news service. The original name was Ivy Street.

On March 1, Walesa told a television interviewer in Poland that gay people should not have a prominent role in politics. “They have to know that they are a minority and must adjust to smaller things. … A minority should not impose itself on the majority,” he said.

Many observers were shocked at the comments from Walesa, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who led the Solidarity trade union and played a key role in freeing Poland from domination by the former Soviet Union. An activist group filed a complaint with prosecutors in Gdansk, Walesa’s hometown, saying he should be charged with a hate crime, as he was “propaganda of hate against a sexual minority.” However, the head of the Gdansk prosecutors’ office said today that investigators concluded Walesa had not broken any law, the Associated Press reports.