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Trans people forcibly sterilized in Sweden

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Trans people forcibly sterilized in Sweden

ANDREA HOUSTON - It was shocking to learn last week that Sweden – a country with a reputation as friendly and welcoming to queer people – forces trans people to undergo sterilization to change their genders.


And it's not a new law. It's been on the books since 1972. Trans people must also prove that they do not have any eggs or sperm saved in a bank somewhere.

"I'm speaking out today because the Swedish government is forcing thousands of people like me to make an impossible choice," says the Swedish trans man in the video. "If I need to change the gender of my identity cards to reflect my true self, just a small change from an 'F' to an 'M,' my country forces me to be sterilized."

Although a majority of Swedish parliamentarians are said to be in favour of changing the law, government officials announced last week that the coalition will not seek to repeal it.


Someone remind Sweden that eugenics has really fallen out of fashion since it became associated with Nazis.

Not surprisingly, queer activists are reacting with outrage.

In England, the first trans teen to enter the Miss England competition is leading in her section of the pageant. She hopes to use the exposure to raise awareness of bullying and issues surrounding trans people.

"She had gender reassignment surgery at 16, after attending school as a girl from the age of 10, but knew she wanted to change gender from the age of four," PinkNews UK reports. 

Because of bullying, Green attempted suicide five times when she was younger but is grateful for the support of her mother. She said, "I can never thank my mom enough; she saved my life."

That's what good parents do. They support their children.

Then there's this guy: Representative Richard Floyd, a Republican legislator in Tennessee. A man who threatens violence if he should ever meet a trans person, even if it's in front of his children or grandchildren. What a positive role model.

He is trying to get the “Bathroom Harassment Act” passed in the Tennessee legislature. The bill that would fine trans people $50 for using bathrooms and dressing rooms.

“I don’t care how depraved their mind is, how perverted their mind is, or for what reason they think that a man has a right to go into a woman’s bathroom or dressing room to try on clothes . . . I know how I would respond and react if I was standing in a dressing room with my wife, one of my daughters or my granddaughters, and some man started in there trying on clothes. It would be a bad career day for him, and probably for me . . .”

Thankfully, the senate sponsor of Floyd's bill recently withdrew his support for the legislation leaving the bill with no sponsor.

Meanwhile in Maryland, Baltimore County is considering a bill to protect transgender people from discrimination in public accommodations, such as washrooms.

Wow! Great news! Oh, wait. Conservative religious groups are trying to smear all trans individuals as sexual predators.

The bill was created in the hope of protecting people from incidents like the savage attack at a Baltimore McDonald's last April. A woman was beaten while approximately six employees stood by and watched. 

Transgender activists are celebrating in Massachusetts after a bill was signed into law that bans "many types of discrimination." The new law includes transgender people in an anti-discrimination statement that affects employment, housing, insurance and credit, as well as including trans people in hate-crimes laws, reports the Boston Herald.

Trans Canadians are still fighting for protection, both at the provincial and federal level.

The Trans Lobby Group is hosting a meeting at Toronto's Metropolitan Church on Saturday, Jan 28 at 9:30am that concerns amending the Ontario Human Rights Code to include gender identity in the Vital Statistics Act so that trans people can have legal documents that accurately reflect their presentation.

Confirmed panellists include Cheri DiNovo, NDP MPP for Parkdale-High Park; Douglas Elliott, human rights lawyer; Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario; and Alastair Woods, from the Canadian Federation of Students Ontario.

Finally, congratulations to Canada's long-running high school drama Degrassi, which has been nominated for a Best Drama prize from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Degrassi introduced its first gay storyline in 1988 and broke new ground in 2010 when it introduced its first transgender character.

I’ll leave you with this sensitive and charming Ikea ad featuring a transsexual woman “redecorating her life.”


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I don't support this. Sweden
I don't support this. Sweden should do as she has been doing before.
Lukas, I'm not sure if what
Lukas, I'm not sure if what you are saying is an attempt to defend the present law in Sweden or not. But nothing you've said makes it any better. I think trans people should be able to have children if they want, including after the gender marker change.
THEORETICALLY, you can get
THEORETICALLY, you can get your diagnose, get your doctors opinion, take that to the authority and ask for a new legal gendeer. If you´re sterile, you can get your new legal gender immidiately. You can even, as not being sterile, ask for an SRS to, get the permission and then just show up for teh surgery and tell them you just want the sterilazation.

And then you can legally live as the gender you are, without any surgery or even hormones, if you want to.

In reality, it doesnt work that way. It´s hard getting a diagnose without showing any interest for surgery, especially if your MTF. And getting a diagnose without starting hormones I think is impossible, if your not restraint by illness. So the way getting a new legal gender having no more genitalia surgey than sterilazation is to show interest, and then say no thanks.

And it does happen now and then FTMs get a new legal gender being outspoken they are not interested in genitalia surgery. Much more seldom for MTFs, it´s harder for them to get the diagnose with that attitude I think.
And, there are NO other
And, there are NO other requirements to get a new legal gender. No requiremnts of ANY surgery, or even requirements of hormones.

Also, it works a little other way round in Sweden. Have gotten a new legal gender is a requirement for to get surgery of your genitalia. Nowadays, the sterilazation and the GRS is often made at the same time. In that case, people get a temporary decision about hem being allowed to get the SRS, and when the surgeon has clearified the person is sterile because of the surgery, they go on with the rest of the SRS. Afterwards the permanent decision about the new legal gender is made by the autority.
Just some short facts:The
Just some short facts:

The swedish law requires following, from diagnosed transsexuals, to get their new legal gender:
* Over 18 years old
* Swedish citizen
* Unmarried (obsolete by court, in 2010)
* Sterile, by illness/age or surgery, not only hormones

There has been no major changes at all of the law, and very few minor ones, since 1972. Not even when Sweden introduced same-sex-partnership (1995) or when the same-sex-marriage was made legal (2009) was the requirement for to be unmarried changed.

The reason we are not allowed to preserve eggs/sperm is because a decision in court, by a MTF-TS who was sterilised but hade sperm frozen. The court decided that having preseved sperm (and eggs, obviously) means your not sterile in the way the law was intended in 1972. Because the maker of the law didn´t think that possibility would exist, but clearly intended transsexuals to not be able to have kids after treatment, at all.

But, we have always been able to adopt children, and not even in 1972 was already having children a problem seeking treatment/new legal gender....

as a side note - why is
as a side note - why is andrea houston still covering trans issues, especially after her complete fuckup of a job during the trans panel? can't we pay a trans person to do that? i'm sick of cis people getting credit and cash for covering our lives and issues.
Having navigated the laws
Having navigated the laws around this issue in the state of Texas (which in that case are a bit vague, and ultimately up to an individual judge's interpretation) I can tell you that literal sterilization is exactly what these kinds of laws are about, not necessarily GRS or SRS. They don't like the idea of a pregnant man or the idea of a woman who provides sperm to fertilize an egg, they think it "embarrasses" the system. Hence when I saw the petition and looked into the background on Sweden's laws, none of it surprised me.

The fact that they actually require that the trans person in question to destroy any stored semen or eggs makes it clear what this is really about... although that is significantly more aggressive than the laws in Texas. Maybe invoking the Nazis is a bit harsh, but when it comes down to it, this is about trans people and their ability to reproduce, plain and simple.
The ban on banking sperm or
The ban on banking sperm or ova does indeed exist in the law, although it may have been added later. Sweden reviewed the law a few times -- one amendment was apparently made after Thomas Beatie's story hit mass media a couple years ago, although I'm not sure what that change specifically was. I'd be very surprised if it was the amendment banning IVF that was made this recently.

I've known two Scandinavian-Canadians in Alberta alone who have had difficulty changing their foundation documentation (birth certificates, etc), though neither from Sweden. It would be naive to think that this doesn't affect Canadians at all.

Some form of GRS is required throughout Canada to be able to change foundation documents, although there are a couple challenges to that underway. There's no ban on IVF in Canada, so the eugenics argument isn't seen as inspiring this requirement (even though it might have inspired the related laws at least partly). However, given the costs with banking sperm / ova, the often unreliability of storage for this purpose, the fact that IVF clinics have also discriminated against trans people, etc., it doesn't really make a whole lot of difference.
All the articles discussing
All the articles discussing this issue have mentioned the preserved gametes requirement. Laws can be amended or embellished via regulation, which is what I imagine happened in this case. And I don't see such a vast space between holding someone down and blackmailing them with legal incapacity and threats to their safety; both are coercion. Indeed, the idea that people are being blackmailed into sterilization should be more than sufficient to inspire action.
I'm surprised by the surprise
I'm surprised by the surprise -- trans people must also be sterilized to change their papers in most Canadian provinces and territories. Every province and territory requires some surgery (I believe in Ontario you can now change your driver's licence but not your birth certificate) and most require sterilization, although the rules are often vague. Let's start with Canada when it comes to eliminating deplorable rules that require minorities to give up their reproductive rights and sovereignty over their own bodies in order to exercise their civil and privacy rights.
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