A day before the pre-election silence, the Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice) party leader, who is said to majorly win the elections this Sunday, clearly showed again that he does not understand what trans issues are and also does not have any knowledge on gender recognition in Poland.
During a campaing rally in Siedlce Kaczyński called gender recognition andreassignment a „fad” and „attack on the family”. The politician also claimed that when his party wins the election, it will make Poland a „bastion of freedom” where „society will not be changed”.
As an organization with great expertise on trans human rights, working for trans people in Poland for years, we protest against Jarosław Kaczyński lying to his voters as well as using trans people's struggle to gain political capital.
Contrary to what the Law and Justice party leader claims, neither gender recognition not gender reassignment are new to Polish realities. This process has been available already in the 1960s and has changed much through the years. The Gender Accordance Act, vetoed by President Andrzej Duda this October, was supposed to codify the process and didn't create anything new in Poland.
Trans people can access legal recognition as well gender reassignment procedures in many countries for almost a century. Experts agree that trans people need to be protected by law and that their needs are not „fads”, but a question of human dignity. This is also why the World Health Organization is currently updating its International Classification of Diseases (ICD) where trans people will have a chance to be finally seen as not suffering from a disorder, and why the Council of Europe calls for quick, transparent and accessible gender recognition procedures.
We are trully baffled by a statement claiming that availability of gender recognition is an „attack on the family”, especially given the fact that Poland requires its citizens to divorce their spouse before change of gender marker. This means that a number of functioning marriages, where children are also present, are broken up just for the sake of keeping a social status quo. Trans people are also denied access to adoption, as shown in a recent case of a trans man and his wife.
Trans people's rights have been already widely recognized as human rights, hence Poland as „bastion of freedom” means to us also a Poland where trans citizens are treated with respect and as actual members of society. Freedom means the right to be oneself as well the right to have one's dignity recognized and respected.
We would also like to remind that Jarosław Kaczyński received a package with our brochures and reports in September 2014 after a similar media statement. We strongly believe that more than 13 months is enough to educate oneself on most basic issues surrounding gender recognition in Poland.