Anna Grodzka is a Polish politician who's determined to make a difference
Anna Grodzka is the only openly transgender MP in the world, but she doesn't want to stop there. The 60-year-old trans woman and Polish Green Party member has announced that she will be running for president in the Polish elections later this year.
Grodzka became an MP in 2011, which was no mean feat given the country's notorious conservatism. In a PinkNews interview in 2013, she said that she hopes to lead the way for other trans people in the country.
"Generally it’s hard (for trans people) but this is why I am doing this, to help others to inspire others," she said. “It’s difficult but I need to carry it on, it does affect my private life, it’s quite hard to share my life with another person with so much going on, but at the end of the day this is my life and I’m happy. I hope I can show other transgender people that life is worth living."
As the Polish Green party doesn't carry an awful lot of sway, Grodzka will need to gain the support of other left-wing parties in order to stand a chance of winning. Here's an idea of the levels of anti-LGBT prejudice that Grodzka is up against: far-right MP Krystyna Pawlowicz said in 2013 that "gay people are of no use whatsoever to society”. Same-sex couples currently don't enjoy the same legal protection as heterosexual couples.
But it isn't all bad. In December, Poland elected its first gay mayor, pointing to a shifting of the tides and growing levels of acceptance within the country.
In a Guardian op-ed, Grodzka wrote that the success of her political party was unmistakable proof that things were changing for the better. "Our party gained 10% of the national vote at the last Polish general election despite the fact that our policies include legalisation of gay marriage, abortion and marijuana," she wrote.
"There is an unmistakable shift in social attitudes across the western world as more and more countries embrace liberal social policies such as gay marriage. The challenge for transgender people is to ensure our rights are included in this wider shift, and that we become visible for the right reasons."
We wish Grodzka all the best in her bid to make history later this year.
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