A Polish regional court placed a transgender citizen of Vietnam who identified as a woman in a guarded center for male foreigners. Ever since she was apprehended, she continued telling employees of the center, including social workers, that she was a transgender person, that she had been undergoing hormone therapy since 2018, and that if she were to stop taking her medicines, it would be detrimental to her health. This did not convince the Border Guard to release her from the guarded center or to move her to a center which was not exclusively for males.

According to Polish law, if a person’s stay at a guarded center for foreigners might pose a threat to their life or health or if a person’s mental or physical condition suggests that they have suffered from violence, such a person is not to be placed in a guarded center. Immediately after extending our support to the foreigner in question we submitted an application to the Commander of the relevant Border Guard Post who was in charge of the guarded center, asking them to release the woman from the center because, as per the law, court rulings, and international standards, a transgender woman should not be kept in a guarded center for males. We pointed out that the foreigner in question had been undergoing hormone therapy for years. At the center, she was deprived of her medicines and the Border Guard refused to allow those to be supplied to her by support organisations. As a result of this, the hormone therapy of the foreigner in question was interrupted for three months and this had a negative impact on her health. We also demonstrated that she has suffered from violence and a sexual assault in the past. Consequently, she should not be kept in a guarded center at all and her stay there is immensely difficult and stressful for her.

Reacting to our application for her release from the center, the Border Guard Commander decided to release her in view of the fact that her continued stay at the center could pose a threat to her life or health (Article 406(1)(2) in conjunction with Article 400(1) of the Act on Foreigners). The head of the center’s medical personnel concluded that „there are health-related contraindications for prolonged stay at the center” and the Commander, having taken this piece of information, an interview with the foreigner, her medical examination, her psychological diagnosis, and her medical documentation into account, concluded that „continued stay at the guarded center for foreigners in K. is not advised.”

The foreigner in question has been set free and is able to make use of medical procedures and continue her hormone therapy.

The woman is supported by Magdalena Fuchs, trainee attorney-at-law, and Elena Efimova, integration advisor.