My name is Magda. I’m from Poland (straight female, but still an avid supporter of LGBT rights) and your regular reader at WOW.
Just thought you might be interested to know that we had our parliamentary elections here yesterday and it’s been an unprecedented breakthrough. Poland has long been a strongly Catholic country, homeland of the pope JPII, with the Catholic Church having huge influence on politicians and legislation. Think “the Bible Belt” and “abortion prohibited under the criminal code” and you’ll get the idea of what much of Poland is still like. Until yesterday, we didn’t have a single politician EVER who would come out as gay, although many of them are rumored to be.
Less than a year ago we started a new political initiative which focused mainly on practically enforcing the constitutional separation of the state from the church and ending the church’s power over politics, on human rights, civil unions, reproductive rights and LGBT rights. Yesterday’s elections were the movement’s electoral debut and commentators were convinced we wouldn’t make it past the statistical error level of 1 – 1.5%, yet we came third out of 8 major parties taking part in the elections with over 10% of total votes! The best part of it: among those elected are Robert Biedroń, an openly gay LGBT activist, head of the biggest anti-homophobia organization in Poland (Kampania Przeciw Homofobii), and Anna Grodzka, a transgender woman who heads Trans-Fuzja, a foundation to support transgender people. He will be the first openly gay Polish MP (Member of Parliament) and she’ll be Poland’s first and currently the world’s only transgender MP.
Of course, this is only the beginning and there are years of hard work ahead before we can truly transform this country, but I have never had as much hope and optimism as I do today. So I just wanted to share it and tell you – if a nation as conservative (to put it very gently) and generally intolerant of “others” as ours can finally wake up and take such a huge leap, yours will too, with or without Obama.