Was Chopin gay? The awkward question in one of the EU's worst countries for LGBTQ rights

A drawing of Polish-born composer and pianist Frederic Chopin on his deathbed in 1849.

London (CNN)Each year, millions of visitors to Poland are introduced to the country's favorite son before they even set foot on its soil.

Warsaw's Chopin Airport, the nation's largest transport hub, greets more than 1 million people every month. And it's far from the only landmark dedicated to the Romantic-era composer, born in a tiny hamlet west of the capital 210 years ago; his name is everywhere, his works and image ubiquitous across the central European country.
Chopin's residences bear unmissable plaques. Busts and statues of his likeness are dotted across most major cities. His name adorns parks, streets, benches and buildings. Even his heart, preserved in alcohol after his death in 1849 at the age of 39, is sealed into a wall of Warsaw's Holy Cross Church.
    But new suggestions about Frederic Chopin's private life collide awkwardly with Poland's staunchly conservative traditions and its right-wing leadership -- and have caused some to question whether the story of Chopin that Poles are told from a young age is true.
    According to a Swiss radio documentary that has been discussed at length in Poland in recent days, the composer had relationships with men, and those relationships were left out of history by successive historians and biographers; a potentially thorny charge in one of Europe's worst countries for LGBTQ rights.
    Music journalist Moritz Weber, whose program aired on Swiss network SRF, said he reviewed letters from Chopin, sent to male friends, that feature explicit and romantic passages.
    Weber also found that subsequent biographies and re-tellings of some letters swap male pronouns to female ones and downplay, whether intentionally or not, any evidence of Chopin's relationships with men.
    "He's talking about love so directly with men," Weber told CNN. "Why wasn't that questioned by all these scholars and famous biographers?"
    Chopin's heart is buried in the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw.
    The most traditional story of Chopin's love life is that he had romantic relationships with women -- most notably the writer Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, who was known by her pen name, George Sand.
    But the archive of letters that Weber trawled told a different story, he found. "He didn't write letters to them at all. And he doesn't write about them in a way that you could conclude there was love," Weber said.