ANDREA HOUSTON – Faced with international outrage, Sweden’s conservative government is now poised to abolish forced sterilization of trans people.
“This is incredible news for Sweden,” states Ulrika Westerlund, president of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights. “It’s crucial that the new law comes into place as soon as possible."
The current law, which has been on the books since 1972, forces trans people to undergo sterilization before they can legally change their gender. They also must prove they do not have any eggs or sperm saved in a bank somewhere.
The change comes after years of mobilization in Sweden by AllOut, a global alliance of straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people, a news release states.
More than 77,000 people signed an AllOut petition calling on the country to reverse the ban, which the organization said is its largest-ever online movement to protect trans human rights, Pink News UK reports.
“The global campaign to stop forced sterilization in Sweden was the largest online campaign in history supporting human rights for transgender people,” the release states.
The campaign stepped up in January with the release of a moving video from a Swedish trans man that went viral. The man pleaded for help, telling the world his government “is forcing people to make an impossible choice.”
Sweden is not the only country that requires sterilization before surgery. According to AllOut, there are 29 countries in Europe where it is still a requirement: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.