Sweden ends transgender sterilisation

transgenderSweden has ended the practice of requiring transgender people to undergo sterilisation should they want to legally change sexes. The abolishment of the four-decade-old law went into force on 10 January. A ruling from the administrative Court of Appeal in Stockholm last month deemed it to be unconstitutional and in violation with regulations outlined by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Under the former law, any citizen that wanted to legally change sex was also required to be sterilised. In addition, the rule resulted in many transgender Swedes waiting to change their legal status until after they had children.

Now, as thousands celebrate the change, others are preparing for legal action against the state. However, some are hoping that the government will be the first to make a move, eliminating the need for painful and costly legal battles.

Ulrika Westerlund, who heads the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL), told the media, “If lawmakers take the initiative to adopt a law outlining damages, we will not file a lawsuit,” The Local reported. She added that the RFSL would accept compensation in the amount of SEK 200,000 for each person as a “fair” payment.

Recent figures show that 865 Swedes sought a legal change of sex between the introduction of the law in 1972 and 2011. RFSL officials said that up to 90 individuals that underwent the forced sterilisation have approached the group for assistance in seeking government compensation.