Trans MP Anna Grodzka says homophobia and transphobia means people are leaving Poland

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Anna Grodzka, Europe’s first transgender MP spoke out about poverty and social exclusion in the LGBT community on Sunday at the National Lesbian and Gay Federation Conference in Dublin.

The Polish MP explained to the conference that one reason so many people had emigrated from Poland was because of their gender or problems expressing their sexuality in their home country.

“We’re dealing with the second rate position of women across the world and we also deal with medicalised treatments of homosexuality and have experienced torture like treatments of homosexuality,” Ms Grodzka said.

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

“We talk about tolerance but the way we see tolerance now actually legitimises the treatment of LGBT community today. I don’t need anybody to tolerate me. I demand my rights as a tax paying citizen exactly the same as anyone else,” Ms Grodzka said.

The MP recently made headlines after losing out on a deputy speaker job in a parliamentary vote.

At the conference, Transgender Equality Network Ireland director Broden Giambrone explained that in Ireland, transgender people have been known to experience discrimination in the labour market and in accessing treatment for their specific healthcare requirements.

“We recently conducted a survey of 160 transgender people and found 43% of trans respondents in Ireland reported a current personal income of less than €10,000 (£8,620) a year. One quarter of those respondents indicated they are out of work which is strikingly high,” Mr Giambrone said.

The survey found that 78% of trans people had considered suicide and 40% had attempted it.

The conference also revealed that the last conclusive research on poverty and social exclusion in Ireland’s LGBT community was from a 1995 report commissioned by the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network.