Polish transsexual MP loses bid for deputy speaker job
By Marcin Goettig
WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish lawmakers blocked a transsexual colleague from becoming deputy speaker of parliament on Friday after her nomination caused discomfort among some sections of Poland's devoutly Catholic society.
Liberal supporters of 58-year-old Anna Grodzka said parliament had missed an opportunity to show that Poland was changing from a heartland of traditional values into an open-minded society.
"This could have given a signal for Poles that a person from a discriminated minority can occupy such a high-ranking position," Miroslawa Makuchowska, vice-president of the Warsaw-based Campaign Against Homophobia, told Reuters. "For the time being this is not going to happen."
But Makuchowska said some good had come out of the episode. "The more often Anna appears in the media, the more people are getting used to the issue."
A businesswoman with a psychology degree, Grodzka, formerly a man called Krzysztof Begowski, completed her sex change three years ago. She was elected as Poland's first transsexual member of parliament in October 2011.
The deputy speakership would have been a more visible role: it involves chairing sessions of parliament when the speaker is not available, and carrying out occasional ceremonial duties.
Asked on Friday what she thought about missing out on the job, Grodzka told reporters: "I regret it."
Her nomination was blocked before lawmakers even had the opportunity to debate Grodzka's potential as a deputy speaker. Continued...