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January 19, 2016

Change Starts With Us: Trans Fuzja Foundation

Mama Cash grantee Trans Fuzja Foundation reflects on the ingredients for impact

Mama Cash’s grantee partners are doing amazing work for women, girls, and trans people in their communities and around the world. In an eleven part series, we will share some of these inspiring stories of change. This is the story of Trans Fuzja Foundation.

Trans-Fuzja Foundation was founded in 2008 to raise public awareness about transgender issues and increase respect for transgender rights in Poland. Based in Warsaw, it is the only trans rights organisation in the country.[1] Within a few years after its founding, Trans-Fuzja’s work expanded beyond providing support to trans people: Trans-Fuzja has become a politically engaged organisation with clear goals concerning the legal, social, economic, and human rights situation of transgender people. Trans-Fuzja is now a recognised expert organisation on transgender-specific issues.

The Challenge

According to recent statistics, 95% of Polish people self-identify as Catholic and more than 40% actively practise on a weekly basis. Most of the Catholic leadership in Poland promotes restrictive views on gender identity and family structure, which Trans-Fuzja believes has a strong impact on both people’s perceptions of sexuality and the policies carried out by the Polish government. The church’s influence also adversely affects the position of trans people, both legally and socially.

Prior to 2008, trans people were largely invisible in Poland: most trans people kept their identities silent and few people were familiar with transgender issues. Moreover, the gender recognition process in Poland is one of the most complicated in Europe: one must obtain a diagnosis, go through a long civil court case involving one’s parents, and endure numerous, often degrading, physical examinations to obtain gender recognition.

To continue the story, please read the PDF

[1]. While Mama Cash normally uses the term “trans*” with an asterisk rather than “trans,” Trans-Fuzja does not. Here we use Trans-Fuzja’s preferred term.