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'I don't demand tolerance, I demand equal rights' Anna Grodzka gives IDAHOT Lecture

At a lecture to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), the Polish MP, Anna Grodzka, made a passionate plea for all in society to 'respect the right of everyone to be who they are.'


Ms. Grodzka, who is currently the only trans member of parliament in the world, was speaking at the annual lecture of the Kaleidoscope Trust in London. 


She said everybody deserved the right to express their humanity in their own way:


"The right to be yourself encompasses also the right to sexual and gender identity. Nobody should be despised, excluded or discriminated on the grounds of their gender or sexuality.


"Alas, we are still living in societies, where there exist systems of social segregation based on gender and sexual norms. Such systems are a source of suffering and violence.



"The system of gender segregation still holds women as second-order citizens, despite the improvements in the last century. I live in a country where a woman cannot decide about her own body, because the state forces her to give birth at all costs and denies her the right to abortion. I live in a country where domestic violence is a huge issue, yet scrupulously hidden. Can a woman in such a country be herself?


"The system of gender segregation affects transsexual people as well. In my country none of the stages of sex reassignment procedure are refunded. Transsexual people fall victims to violence and hatred. Trans people have until recently been largely absent in social awareness and they are still invisible in the body of Polish law. Can transsexual people be themselves in such a country?"


Anna Grodzka finished with a plea that tolerance was not enough. "I do not demand tolerance, I demand equal rights. I demand acceptance for every human being who does not do any harm with his actions to anyone else. I demand acceptance for every human being, because it should be the right of all persons."