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Finland will keep sterilizing trans people after it rejects law reform

21-year-old trans medical student Sakris Kupila says no one should be forced to choose sterilization

Finland will keep sterilizing trans people after it rejects law reform
Amnesty International
Trans medical student Sakris Kupila's Amnesty petition has over 16,000 signatures

The Finnish Government will not make changes recommended by the UN Human Rights Council to reform the ‘Trans Act.’

Rebecca Dallison, Amnesty UK’s Campaigner told Gay Star News:

‘Despite strong international pressure, Finland has decided to reject recommendations from the Universal periodic review in the UN Human Rights Council to reform the Trans Act.

‘Not only has the Finnish Government chosen to turn its back on trans people, but it has also failed to provide any justification for this regressive decision.’

This means trans people will continue to be sterilized if they want to have their gender changed legally.

Sakris Kupila is the 21-year-old medical student leading the fight for trans people to choose their gender identity. They describe this process as a violation:

‘The psychiatric diagnosing process felt like I was handing my dignity, identity, and future over to doctors, nurses and officials that would thoroughly examine me and judge whether or not my sense of self-was real or not’

‘The requirement of sterilization is a violation of bodily integrity.’

Over 16,000 people have signed Kapila’s Amnesty petition calling for change. In a message to supporters of the campaign they spoke of disappointment:

‘I am disappointed. But I am so proud you all stood up with me to give a powerful message to the Prime Minister, Juha Sipilä: that we’re watching, we will not be ignored and we will not stop fighting for trans rights in Finland.’

The UN Human Rights Council has long been recommending the scrapping of the rule.

They set out two suggestions for Finland. Calling both for an end to sterilization and to stop defining being trans as a mental health diagnosis.

The UN also suggests Finland ‘develop a gender recognition procedure that is quick, transparent, with self-determination.’ Adding it should be available ‘irrespective of age, medical or financial status.’

The law does not allow people to legally transition until they’re 18. The process can take anywhere up to three years.

Earlier this year Finland became the last Scandinavian country to open marriage to same-sex couples. It was a long and arduous journey to reach that victory.

Diagnosis of ‘transsexualism’

Finland’s Act on Legal Recognition of the Gender of Transsexuals requires people to ‘have been sterilized or is “for some other reason infertile”‘ before their legal gender can be changed.

They must also undergo extensive mental health screenings.

If someone does legally change their gender must also accept a diagnosis of ‘transsexualism.’

Non-binary trans people receive a diagnosis of ‘other gender disorders’ excluding them from getting any kind of legal gender recognition.

Finland is not the only country to require sterilization. Over 20 countries have the same laws.

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