Members of the lower house of the Polish Parliament by a 252-158 vote margin approved the Gender Accordance Act that trans MP Anna Grodzka first introduced in 2012.
The measure would require those who wish to legally change their gender in the country are unmarried Polish citizens and provide proof from a doctor or other medical provider that they are “a person of a different gender identity than the gender legally assigned.” A court in the city of Lodz would then consider their application.
Trans-Fuzja Foundation, a Polish trans advocacy group, in a press release said the court would grant the request within three months without requiring the petitioner to undergo hormone therapy or other medical intervention.
“It is a huge victory for trans people in Poland” said Trans-Fuzja Foundation President Wiktor Dynarski. “For the past few days we have seen members of Parliament advocating both against and for the law, but it was for the first time that we actually heard Polish policy makers openly protecting bodily autonomy of trans people and recognizing that trans citizens need to have their dignity assured.”
The Gender Accordance Act does not address citizenship, health care, parental rights, divorce and other trans-specific issues in Poland.
“There are still a number of issues to address,” said Trans-Fuzja Foundation Vice President Lalka Podobińska in the organization’s press release. “This act is our first step to a better reality for trans people in our country. An important first step that took us three years to take.”
The proposal would become law in January if the Polish Senate approves it and President Bronislaw Komorowski signs it.
Polish lawmakers approved the Gender Accordance Act a day after Irish President Michael Higgins signed a bill into law that will allow trans people to legally change their gender in his country without surgery.
Maltese lawmakers in April approved a comprehensive rights bill that allows people to legally change their gender without undergoing sex-reassignment surgery, hormone therapy or “any other psychiatric, psychological or medical treatment.” Denmark, Argentina and Colombia have also adopted similar provisions.
Italy’s highest court on Monday ruled it is not necessary for trans people to undergo sex-reassignment surgery in order to legally change their gender.