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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 14, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 41
Trans woman elected to Polish parliament
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Trans woman elected to Polish parliament

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Anna Grodzka has become the first openly Transgender person elected to Poland's parliament.

Her election was announced on the Transgender Europe (TGEU) website on October 10.

Grodzka is president of Trans-Fuzja, the Polish TGEU affiliate. She was elected representing the Palikot Movement, a new political party that stunned Polish politicians by coming in third in Polish national elections on October 9.

Party leader Janusz Palikot is straight, but is a strong supporter of LGBT rights, as well as marijuana legalization.

In addition to Godzka, the party also elected Poland's first openly Gay legislator, Robert Biedron.

'This is an incredible step forward for Poland,' TGEU Working Group coordinator Wiktor Dynarski said in a statement.

'We were aware of the fact that Anna's decision to actually become a candidate would bring a lot more discussion on Transgender issues into Polish politics, but we have never even dreamt of achieving such an incredible success!'

According to the TGEU, Trans Poles face a number of issues that have already been resolved for their counterparts in other European countries. Poland entered the European Union in 2004, but its social legislation still lags behind many European countries, especially where minority rights are concerned.

'Many Trans and intersex individuals in the country feel unsafe and unheard,' the TGEU said in its statement.

'An important improvement would be a law regulating the recognition of change of name and gender. Currently, this is only ruled by case law. No law or official decree exists leaving transgender individuals in a state of legal uncertainty.'

European Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg has identified Poland as one of the E.U. member states that has not yet fulfilled its obligation under the European Convention on Human Rights to provide for legal gender recognition.

Hammerberg also criticized the Polish government for not providing 'quick, transparent, and accessible' legal mechanisms as recommended by the E.U. Committee of Ministers.

'Poland has ignored the rights of its Transgender citizens for too long. It is high time to finally discuss introduction of a gender recognition law. We are optimistic that Grodzka's success will motivate more countries in the Central-Eastern European region to take notice of the existence of Transgender and intersex persons and their rights,' TGEU co-chair Richard Köhler said.

Poland's governing Civic Platform party won the largest bloc of seats in the October 9 election, but fewer than in the previous election. Civic Platform is a center-right party, which officially opposes same-sex marriage, reproductive choice, and decriminalization of recreational drugs.

The second-place party, Law and Justice, is a harder right party that shares Civic Platform's conservative views on social issues.

Three progressive parties, including the Palikot Movement, also elected members to Parliament, and they may hold the balance of power since no party has an absolute majority in Parliament.

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