Polish parliament mulls bill to simplify sex change process

WARSAW - The Polish parliament on Friday took a step towards adopting a bill that would simplify the legal sex change process, a proposal made by Poland's only transsexual lawmaker.

"Thanks to 224 lawmaker votes, the bill on gender agreement is being forwarded" to several parliamentary committees for further work, the lawmaker, Anna Grodzka, said on her Facebook page.

The bill passed the initial hurdle despite opposition from the conservative PiS party, which considers it anti-family. Sixteen lawmakers abstained while 198 voted for scrapping the draft legislation in its first reading.

The bill proposes to simplify the legal process for transsexuals who want to change their gender and to make it available to anyone aged 13 and over.

"It's time to acknowledge that transsexual and intersexual people exist," Grodzka said Tuesday when introducing the bill.

"Even if they are in the minority, we can't refuse them the right to live according to their own identity. It would be against the constitution."

The current legal process is lengthy and psychologically painful, according to Polish ombudswoman Irena Lipowicz.

It requires transsexuals to file a lawsuit against their parents for incorrectly reporting their gender at birth in civil registries.

Born as a man, the 59-year-old Grodzka made history when she was elected Poland's first transsexual lawmaker in 2011. The world's first was Georgina Beyer, who served in New Zealand's parliament between 1999-2007.