Forced Sterilisation

for transgender people in Sweden. Go here to sign a petition against it. (Thanks, L!)

If you are a transgender person in Sweden today looking to legally change your gender, in the 21st century you are still forced to undergo surgery that will render you permanently infertile and forever unable to have children.

11 thoughts on “Forced Sterilisation

  1. Like everyone, I am opposed to forced sterilization. This is one of those times when I wonder, though, why an internet petition? Who is going to read or value the signatures of a bunch of strangers from around the world who saw a link to a petition? To whom does this go, and why would they care?

  2. Regardless of the policy’s merits or lack thereof, I’m not sure it qualifies as “forced sterilization” in a conventional sense.

  3. I’ll ask a naive question. Is there some way to have one’s gender surgically altered and retain the ability to reproduce? I would have thought that this was impossible. Can someone (tastefully) explain why this isn’t so?

  4. Jeff, are you assuming that all transgendered people are people who have had their gender surgically altered? (Differently identifying, and changing one’s name on a driver’s license, is entirely compatible with retaining the ability to reproduce, o’course.)

  5. profbigk, no, I wouldn’t want to make that inference. But I was assuming that the issue with the Swedish government revolved around that subset of transgendered persons. I did say it was going to be a naive question. I honestly didn’t even consider it possible that the Swedish government would have such a law that applied to so many people. Some quick checking around the internet about this has been eye-opening.

    You mentioned both “differently identifying” and “changing one’s name on a driver’s license”. Are either of those covered by the Swedish law? I think I read that they require sterilization in order to be legally recognized as the gender one prefers. But are one’s dress, or speech, or name part of one’s legal gender in Sweden? Can you (or someone) please point me to a reliable source on this law and its enforcement?

  6. Ach, I wish I could. The reason I put off posting on this same topic was because I found even less than you did via interwebs. I just couldn’t find a site that would confirm what little is on the petition, or clarify the sorts of questions you and I share. This is why I find internet petitions so, so frustrating.

  7. Some pertinent information:

    “According to legislation passed in 1972, to undergo a sex change operation a person must be over 18-years-old, a Swedish citizen, be sterilized and unmarried.
    In the proposal for new legislation, to be be presented by the government this spring, the conditions that sex change candidates are unmarried and Swedish citizens will be dropped, according to TT. But not the sterilization condition.” (source)

    “Under the current law Swedish transgender people who want to have their preferred gender recognized before the law, need to prove they are unable to procreate (Lagen om faststallelse av konstillhorighet i vissa fall (SFS 1972; 119)).
    The Swedish law causes anguish for transgender people who choose not to have the required surgery, which involves an invasive medical procedure, for various reasons, such as out of a wish to one day become parents. Their identification documents do not match their gender identity and gender expression. This leads to frequent public humiliation, vulnerability to discrimination, and great difficulty in finding or holding a job. There are many occasions where people in Sweden need to show their identification documents. Often transgender people are called to explain how it is possible that their official document (with male or female on it) does not match their appearance.” (source)

  8. I thought male and female were one’s biological sex and gender referred to the cultural construction of man, woman, etc. So if someone doesn’t have the surgery they would still be the same sex they were born with, but a different gender, such as a male woman or female man. If Swedens documentation lists male/female then it’s correct, and doesn’t imply a persons gender.

    If a person has full female sex organs aren’t they still female regardless if their gender is presented as man or woman?

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