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The situation of trans* and non-binary people in Poland

Among all of the members of the LGBTIQ* community in Poland, people who identify as trans* are at the highest risk of experiencing discrimination and prejudice-motivated violence.

Apart from the harmful rhetoric of the government towards the LGBTIQ* community in Poland generally, trans* people are facing numerous obstacles in their daily lives. That includes the lack of protection against discrimination based on gender identity and hardships connected to the process of changing the legal sex.

The process of changing the legal gender marker is amongst one of the most complicated in Europe, as there is no single set of regulations that allow trans* folks to correct their gender marker. Additionally, the legal framework requires trans* folks to sue their parents. To be able to get their gender legally recognized. Many NGOs have reported numerous cases of the parents hindering the process for their children. Which makes it difficult for trans* people to be fully in charge of their legal gender. The process can also be extremely lengthy and involve several medical examinations. They are often not only costly but can be a humiliating experience to the person too. The state-controlled media are often deadnaming trans*-people, ignoring their self-chosen identity and denying them as a trans*-person.

*Deadnaming means to call (a transgender person) by their birth name when they have changed their name as part of their gender transition.

The Polish trans* community has attempted to make the process of legal gender recognition easier. In 2015 a bill containing a framework of regulations surrounding the change of legal gender was proposed by Anna Grodzka- the first Polish transgender MP. The bill passed the parliament readings. However, it was later vetoed by the Polish president Andrzej Duda.

A study by Campaign Against Homophobia shows in Poland transgender persons have the highest risk of discrimination and prejudice-motivated violence amongst the LGBTIQ* Community. Trans* people are not seen or treated equally to others. The health system is not supporting their situation and the discrimination they are facing. This leads to a high amount of trans* people with mental health issues due to the discrimination and ignorance of their person.

During the widespread protests of the LGBTQIA community that took place in August 2020, after the arrest of a non-binary activist, there have been reports of police violence targeted specifically against trans protesters. Trans people were targeted during the arrests, sexually harassed, and forced to strip in front of police officers. Trans* persons were placed in detention facilities of the opposite sex, facing a high risk of violence.

To this day, Anna Grodzka remains probably the most well-known transgender person in Poland. However, more and more trans* folks are coming into the spotlight. Ewa Holuszko- a former opposition activist and a prominent physicist, is a very recognizable figure in Polish history, having been awarded many national insignia for her involvement in establishing democracy.

The community also includes non-binary persons. For example, Margot, an activist from the “Stop Bzdurom” collective - Probably one of the most recognizable faces of the massive wave of protest in summer 2020, dubbed as the “Polish Stonewall”.

The legal situation of trans people in Poland could be improved significantly by adjusting the local legal framework to international and EU-wide standards.