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Polish transgender lawmaker loses shot at top post

BY VANESSA GERA, ASSOCIATED PRESS

WARSAW, Poland -- The before and after photos of Anna Grodzka show how much she - and her country - have transformed.

As a man, she once wore a thick beard. Now, Poland's first transgender lawmaker favors big dangly earrings, her hair in a bob.

Grodzka attracted huge attention when she was elected in 2011, and earned even more recently when she became a candidate to be a deputy speaker for her leftwing party.

She lost that chance on Friday when lawmakers voted overwhelming to keep the incumbent in the job. Even so, the 58-year-old has already had a huge impact on the political scene, becoming perhaps the most prominent symbol of liberal change in a country that has traditionally been deeply conservative and overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.

"Certain taboos are being dismantled," said Jacek Kucharczyk, a political analyst and the president of the Institute of Public Affairs in Warsaw.

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