16 January 2013

No More Forced Sterilizations In Sweden

Almost a year ago, I wrote about the Swedish law requiring transgender people to be sterilized before changing sexes.

Well, that forty-year-old law was repealed last week.

One result of that law was that many transgender Swedes delayed their sex changes, waiting until they already had children.  Another is that while some people are celebrating the change, others are preparing for a legal battle.

Now, if what I've just described were in the United States, you'd expect me to say that some right-wing religious fundamentalists were going to fight to keep the law on the books, or to outlaw sex changes altogether.  However, the ones who are preparing for the lawsuit are working on behalf of 90 transsexuals who underwent sterilization from 1972, when the law was enacted, until 2011.  During that time, 865 Swedes sought a legal sex change.

Ulrika Westerlund, who heads the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL) said she is hoping that lawmakers will pass a law outlining damages and prevent a costly and painful legal fight.  She says the RFSL is ready to accept 200,000 Swedish Kronas (about 30,700 USD) for each person who files as a "fair" settlement.

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