The 2022 Freedom of Speech Award in the "media" category was awarded to journalist Piotr Jacoń- privately, the father of a transgender child. In his acceptance speech, he urged the opposition parties to make sure that Polish LGBTQ families have equal rights.
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The award ceremony took place Tuesday at the European Solidarity Center in Gdańsk. Judge Igor Tuleya received an award in the category "institution". In the "media" category, the award went to TVN24 journalist Piotr Jacoń. Katarzyna Wappa won the award in the "citizen" category.

Fot. Martyna Niećko / Agencja Wyborcza.pl

Freedom of Speech Award 2022

All the winners gave short award acceptance speeches.

Arguably the most moving one was delivered by journalist Piotr Jacoń- privately, the father of a transgender child.

- Almost seven years ago, transgender people in Poland and their families lost the opportunity to live with dignity in the country where they pay their taxes. Because almost exactly seven years ago, the PO and PSL coalition government passed a law on gender determination at the end of its term- Jacoń recalled in his speech. - Immediately afterward, this law landed on the desk of the new president, Andrzej Duda. It was the first bill he had vetoed. But this bill, this presidential veto, went back to the same Parliament in which the PO-PSL coalition had a majority. The Left and Palikot’s Movement were also there. Having a majority, this government not only did nothing to override that presidential veto  but also did everything to ensure that the motion to override that veto was not voted on in the plenary session at all. So there was no voting.

Fot. Martyna Niećko / Agencja Wyborcza.pl

The award-winning journalist addressed all opposition parties that "have a plan to fix Poland after PiS is voted out of office". - Remember that you have some things to fix, including those you’ve messed up yourselves. One of those things is the law on gender determination- Piotr Jacoń continued. - Less as a journalist, less as a man who received the Freedom of Speech award, but mostly as a father and a citizen of this country, I expect you to take this bill to the Parliament in these next elections and promise families like mine that it will be one of the first laws you pass. Sure, you will say that there are more important things - because there is inflation and coal. Transgender families are also worried about inflation and having to buy coal. But they also worry about a lot of other things that they wouldn't have to worry about if this law was passed.

Mr. Jacoń also added: - I also urge you to include marriage equality into your campaign agenda. Same-sex couples exist in this country, it’s a fact, some of our very close friends are such couples, but our state does not recognize them. You also need to make sure that such couples can legally adopt children. No one will lose anything from this, but there will be, I guarantee you, happier people and happy families, not infrequently Catholic as well as those voting for PiS. Have at least a tiny bit of courage and keep in mind that our children have to have a lot of courage on a daily basis in order to live in this country at all. And I have another plea to the Church: do not get in the way. Keep your church divorces, but as for our queer children, at least allow them to have civil weddings and leave them alone.

Medal Wolności Słowa - nominowani
Medal Wolności Słowa - nominowani  Press

The winner of the award in the "media" category was announced by the Press magazine editor-in-chief Andrzej Skworz. Before revealing the laureate’s name, he said: - Today, we have the best opportunity to remember that the Polish journalist of the year is in a prison in Belarus. Andrzej Poczobut [who received the award last year, ed.] has been there for 523 days. He was locked up because he believed that freedom of speech is also important across our eastern border. He is not the only one. More and more activists and journalists are being imprisoned in Russia and Belarus. Let's remember them. But above all, let's call on the entire still free world to liberate them. Let's demand that Polish and European authorities fight for the release of Andrzej Poczobut and other political prisoners.

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