You have to sue your parents to legally change your gender in Poland, but that may soon change

Transgender lawmaker Anna Grodzka is a former presidential candidate.
Transgender lawmaker Anna Grodzka is a former presidential candidate.
Image: Reuters/Kacper Pempel
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Poland’s lower chamber of parliament passed a bill yesterday (link in Polish) that would simplify the procedure of legally changing your gender. The regulation is sponsored by Europe’s first transgender lawmaker, Anna Grodzka, and gets rid of a process that required a transgender person to sue their parents to change their gender in legal documents.

The bill passed easily, in a 252 to 158 vote, and is likely to pass in Poland’s senate. It’s a toned-down version of the initial bill, its sponsors say. People over the age of 18 would still have to go through a court procedure to change the gender on their documents, but would not have to go through a trial—a painful process for transgender Poles and their families.

The bill still managed to raise controversy among the conservative right wing, a powerful force in the majority-Catholic country. “This is a mockery of the state,” said MP Marzena Wróbel. She asked whether people could change their gender multiple times, and whether the legislation is being introduced to “de facto legalize gay marriage in Poland,” where it is currently illegal.

“The procedure has become too easy,” said MP Anna Zalewska, from the right-wing Law and Justice party. Because the bill doesn’t require the change of one’s outward appearance, “the ease with which you can legally change your gender will encourage taking advantage of the system,” she added. (link in Polish)