Monday, January 16, 2012

Stop Forced Sterilization

In Sweden sex change is regulated by the "Act (1972:119) concerning the determination of sex in some cases", which includes both transsexuals and intersexuals.

The Swedish law today requires that any person who on the basis of transsexualism applies for sex change should be:
- Unmarried (i.e. unmarried, widowed, divorced and not  in a partnership)
- Swedish citizenship
- Eighteen years or older and
- Sterile
to be granted permission for new legal gender identity and gender corrective surgery.

The current requirement of sterility has by the Swedish National Board of Legal Council and the courts been interpreted as requiring that no viable reproductive cells from the person may be available.

An investigation on social care and assistance for transsexuals has, in its recommendations 2010, proposed a number of legislative changes among those that the requirement to be unmarried and sterile should be removed without being replaced with other requirements. As for the citizenship requirement it proposes that this should be replaced by a minimum level of domicile in the country of at least one year.

The Swedish government has so far refused to act on the recommendations of the investigation. The inaction on the governments part is due to the influence of the Christian Democratic Party, which is a part of the ruling so called "Alliance".

The Christian Democratic Party holds the The Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs under which this issue falls. Although there is an overwhelming majority in the Swedish parliament for the proposed changes (including the other three parties that make up the governing Alliance) the extremely socially conservative Christian Democrats have succeeded in deadlocking the government from taking any legislative action.

On Thursday we were reached by rumors that the government has reached an unofficial agreement between the four parties that form the Alliance to propose a renewed investigation on the issue of whether sterilization should still be mandatory. 

This unholy agreement was reached in spite of the fact that the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights in a so-called issues paper entitled "Human Rights and Gender Identity" already in July of 2009, found that any requirement to undergo medical or surgical procedures to obtain a legal change of sex is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights and suggested all Council members to stop the sterilization or forced treatment.

This issue doesn't affect many people but it is still a very important one. It is time for Sweden to change this anachronistic, heinous and discriminatory law, especially bearing in mind our earlier sordid history on forced sterilizations. 

All Out and RFSL (The Swedish National Organisation for Equal Rights of Homosexual, Bisexual and Transgendered persons) have joined forces to collect signatures for a change. Go there and sign the petition to tell the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and the others that it is time to move ahead for human rights, for human dignity and against the bigotry of the 4 % that vote for the Christian Democrats.

Please sign the petition here (url).

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