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Human rights commissioner criticises police handbook for negative approach towards transgenderism

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Poland's Human Rights Commissioner chides anti-LGBT resolutionsTVN24 News in English
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TVN24 News in EnglishPoland's Human Rights Commissioner chides anti-LGBT resolutions

The Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar has intervened in the case of a handbook published by the Police Training Centre in Legionowo, which describes transgenderism and the LGBTQ community in the context of social pathologies. "There's a serious risk that such perception of transgenderism will negatively affect the officers' attitude towards transgender people" - Bodnar stressed.

The Commissioner for Human Rights (RPO) Adam Bodnar on Thursday wrote to the Chief of Police Training Centre, Inspector Anna Rosół, regarding a police handbook titled: "Social pathologies - selected issues".

The commissioner's office said in a statement that the handbook provided characteristics of social pathologies, as well as description of social phenomena considered as manifestations of these pathologies, such as substance dependence, prostitution, sects, and begging.

The RPO wrote in a letter that he was concerned by "transgenderism being listed among those phenomena". He stressed that both transgenderism and the LGBTQ community were described in the handbook in a negative context of pathologies. "This way of describing transgenderism may lead to perpetuating of negative stereotypes" - the statement reads.

Adam Bodnar reminded that transgender people were not a subculture or fashion. "Transgenderism is not a result of a choice made by a person, but their personal trait. According to contemporary medical science, transgenderism is not a disease or psychological disorder, but is considered as one of the forms of gender identity. In itself it is not a 'social pathology', but a permanent psychological disposition of a person" - he explained.

He added that no particular attitude towards common system of values should be associated with transgenderism.

The commissioner pointed out that transgenderism also included the so-called non-binary people. "Non-binary people are also often referred to as 'genderfluid', but in each case this term refers to gender identity as a personality trait, not a free choice" - he wrote.

Bodnar underscored that the "handbook does not include this context". "It does not provide any additional comments, nor it attempts to explain in detail who transgender or non-binary people are. It fails to mention basic medical and psychological facts regarding transgenderism. Instead, it suggest that transgender people are a 'social pathology' negating existing cultural norms" - he added.

According to the ombudsman, "there's a serious risk that such perception of transgenderism will negatively affect the officers' attitude towards transgender people". "Police officers should be aware of what transgenderism is and of a difficult social situation of those people as group especially vulnerable to discrimination" - he stressed.

Adam Bodnar also said that Article 47 of the constitution stated it was a lawful duty for authorities and the police to respect private lives of transgender people, including their right to a given gender identity, protected by the law.

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