Sweden Moves to End Forced Sterilization of Transgender People

Love Georg Elfvelin and Ulrika Westerlund delivering a petition to representative of the Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt. Source: AllOut.org.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Swedish trans people and LGBT activists have something to celebrate this week, as the country—one of 17 in the European Union that requires sterilization for people who wish to switch genders on legal documents—may soon repeal the requirement. As I reported previously, Sweden’s liberal and moderate members of parliament expressed desire to remove forced sterilization last month, only to be blocked by an opposing coalition of conservative political groups led by the Christian Democrat Party. Now, according to the Swedish paper The Local, the Christian Democrat Party appears to have reversed its stance, making way for the repeal.

On February 18, The Local reported that Christian Democrat leader Göran Hägglund and others in the party “outlined the party’s new position in that it now wants the law changed and the sex-change sterilization requirement removed.” Why the sudden change in opinion? When the Christian Democrats and others announced that they would not support repealing forced sterilization, the news sparked outrage on the internet and among advocacy groups, sending shockwaves through international media. One petition by AllOut.org received nearly 80,000 signatures. The public pressure seems to have achieved some success.

 

Still, it’s not clear exactly when the sterilization requirement will be repealed. According to Andre Banks, executive director of All Out, “[the repeal]’s going to happen, it’s just a question of whether the bureaucratic process takes two months, or four months, or six months, and activists in Sweden are going to keep the pressure on.” Once the law is officially reversed, trans people in Sweden will get to have their ID and legal documents changed to reflect their gender “without having to go through what is often a really embarrassing terrifying process,” Banks says.

Banks and other activists working on the All Out campaign hope that reversing forced sterilization in Sweden will send a signal to other European countries. By working closely with partners, he says, their goal is “to find moments where international solidarity can help tip the balance in favor of greater equality.”

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate