Polish trans MP Anna Grodzka loses out on deputy speaker job in parliamentary vote

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Anna Grodzka, the transgender MP who had been a contender for the position of deputy speaker, has lost out in a parliamentary vote that chose to keep the incumbent deputy speaker in the role.

Lawmakers voted today (Friday) to retain MP Wanda Nowicka in the role.

Ms Nowicka, MP for the Palikot Movement, was called on by party leader Janusz Palikot to stand down after it emerged that she had taken a 40,000 zloty (£8,000) bonus, contravening her party’s stance on bonuses.

Mr Palikot nominated Ms Grodzka to fill the role, but MPs voted overwhelmingly to keep Ms Nowicka in the role.

After hearing the result Mr Palikot asked: “Is someone afraid of Anna Grodzka? Why you do not want to respect the tradition that every [political party] has the right to self-determination?”

He said that the vote could tarnish the reputation of Polish politicians, who have come under fire recently for taking bonuses during a financial downturn.

The five deputy speakers have said they will give money to charity to apologise for the controversial bonuses.

“The decision of the House not to dismiss me from the function of deputy speaker confirms my deep conviction that there is no substantive reason for me to submit my resignation,” said Ms Nowicka.

Jacek Kucharczyk, president of the Institute of Public Affairs in Warsaw, said that Ms Grodzka’s nomination was a sign that “certain taboos are being dismantled” in Poland.

However, stigmas against LGBT people are still prevalent in Polish political spheres. Krystyna Pawlowicz, a Law and Justice member of parliament commented on Ms Grodzka’s gender reassignment.

Ms Pawlowicz said she had a “boxers face”, and went on to say: “Ms Grodzka, it’s not like when you stuff yourself full of hormones you become a woman. The genetic code decides this. Let’s do a blood test. Nothing will change that, no operation.”

Earlier this month. Ms Pawlowicz said she opposed equal marriage because gay people “are of no use whatsoever to society.”

On January 25, Poland’s lower parliamentary house voted to reject three separate draft laws which would have given legal rights to unmarried couples, effectively preventing same-sex couples from receiving any such rights.

According to a January poll, support for equal marriage in the country has doubled since 2003, but still remains low.

The poll by TNS Polska indicated that in 2003, 8% of Polish people supported marriage equality, which had risen to 16% in 2012.