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Sweden to keep sterilising trans people

Compulsory sterilization to remain for transgender people who go through gender reassignment surgery

Sweden to keep sterilising trans people

The mandatory sterilization of people undergoing gender reassignment surgery will continue in Sweden amid an outcry that it breaches the reproductive rights of transgender people.

Talks to amend the legislation were put on hold following opposition from the Christian Democrats.

In order to undergo gender reassignment surgery in Sweden, the person must be over 18, a Swedish citizen, unmarried and have their reproductive material destroyed. Any sperm or eggs which have been deposited in fertility treatment centres must also be destroyed.

While Christian Democrats and the other centre-right parties agreed on removing the conditions regarding marital status and citizenship, they would not move their stance on compulsory sterilization.

Göran Hägglund, Minister of Health and Social Affairs and leader of the Christian Democrats called the decision a victory: 'It's important that we stand by the precautionary principle and don't rush into legislation.'

In an appeal to all European member states Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, asks that they 'abolish sterilisation and other compulsory medical treatment which may seriously impair the autonomy, health or well-being of the individual, as necessary requirements for the legal recognition of a transgender person’s preferred gender.'

Green Party MP Agneta Luttrop has also voiced her disappointment with the decision, calling the law 'macabre' and 'not dignified' while Lena Hallengre, deputy chair of the Riksdag social commity criticises the prime minister for not taking into account the 'wide support in the Riksdah to scrap the requirement.'

Maria Sundin, member of the Transgender Europe (TGEU) board feels betrayed by this 'shameful' decision saying: 'Prominent people in the government who we consider as allies in our struggle didn't fight hard enough.'

Sundin continues: '[Being sterilized] is a decision which people need to make by themselves. It shouldn't be forced on anybody. It's their body, their gender, their choice.'

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