Mr. Michalczewski is both a surprising advocate for gay rights and the perfect choice for the role: He is white, heterosexual, Catholic, rich, professionally successful and widely popular, and thus more likely to persuade conservatives than a liberal intellectual or politician. A typical young man from an economically depressed town that doesn’t have a single movie theater but has five churches might not get a chance to read a progressive manifesto. The opinions of a legendary boxer who grew up under similar circumstances, meanwhile, might prove thought-provoking.
...The key to Mr. Michalczewski’s persuasiveness lies in feelings, not in arguments, or biography. “You know what I like about him?” a friend asked me after watching an interview with the boxer. “His natural understanding of human relationships is really impressive. He is not an intellectual, but he’s able to argue very effectively because he’s honest and empathetic.”
In this fight, it is empathy that leads Mr. Michalczewski forward, and draws people to him. It is what brought the boxer to the L.G.B.T. movement in the first place: He has long emphasized the role of those who helped him escape poverty and his sinister surroundings by engaging him in sports.
|Poland's best-known gay activist (left) isn't gay and|
who put this picture on AKSARBENT? Oh, is that
another empty Chianti bottle we see? Never mind.
...After the nationalist owner of the beer company Ciechan made a series of crude comments about Mr. Michalczewski’s mother, he found his beer boycotted across the country.