Polish Transsexual MP Loses Bid for Deputy Speaker Job

Getty Images

By Reuters

Published February 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

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.

Grodzka’s liberal party, the Palikot Movement, wanted her to fill a deputy speakership that was to be vacated by another of the party’s legislators, Wanda Nowicka. Usually, that sort of reshuffle is the prerogative of each party, and is rubber-stamped by the chamber.

But a majority of deputies voted against a motion to remove Nowicka from her post, meaning that there was no longer any vacancy for Grodzka to occupy.

In parliament, most opponents of Grodzka’s appointment made no comment on the fact she is a transsexual. They said instead she lacked the experience to do the job, and that they suspected her nomination was a stunt by her publicity-hungry party boss, Janusz Palikot.

However, one lawmaker with opposition party Law and Justice, Krystyna Pawlowicz, has been blunt about her views, saying of Grodzka: “Really, a boxer’s face… It’s not like when you stuff yourself full of hormones you become a woman.” (Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.