By Neal Broverman
Originally published on Advocate.com October 18 2011 3:20 PM ET
Times are changing in conservative, Catholic Poland and nothing is more emblematic of that than Anna Grodzka, the nation's first transgender politician.
Grodzka is from the religious stronghold of Krakow — former home of Pope John Paul II — but was nonetheless elected to parliament on October 9. Along with Grodzka, Poland's parliament will see an out gay politician and two black lawmakers. Change has come to Poland following the death of many of its officials, including its antigay former president Lech Kaczynski, in an April 10, 2010 plane crash.
Taking office on November 8, the 57-year-old Grodzka told the Associated Press she will fight for legal same-sex partnerships in Poland, as well as state funding for gender reassignment surgeries. Grodzka heads up a 1,000-member transgender organization in Poland.
"Enough of this concealing of the truth," Grodzka told the AP. "This group of people, even if small, has its rights and they should be respected. They should not be pushed into oblivion."