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Sweden to stop sterilizing people seeking sex reassignment

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — Sweden has eliminated a law, dating back to 1972, that made forced sterilization mandatory for people undergoing sex reassignment surgery, Pink News reports.

According to the report, a majority in parliament were in favour of repealing the law a year ago, but the move was blocked by a small rightwing party. But it was reported last February that the Christian Democrat Party had dropped its support of the rule, making way for its repeal. 

Parliament had adopted a law in the fall banning forced sterilization. This was due to take effect on July 1, but a Stockholm court's decision on the matter came into effect first.

"Thank goodness we avoided this ridiculous law when the British Gender Recognition Act was passed in 2004. It is long overdue that a civilised European country like Sweden should treat all citizens with basic human rights," Paris Lees, the editor of British trans magazine Meta, is quoted as saying in Pink News.

A number of European countries, such as the UK, Austria, Germany and Portugal, have already ended sterilization as a prerequisite for recognition of gender identity, Pink News notes.

Sweden's Left and Green Parties have also called for a review of the minimum age required for sex reassignment surgery.

Last May, Argentina's senate voted 55–0
in favour of legislation
that allows people to change their names and
sexes on official documents without first having to undergo sex
reassignment surgery or getting prior approval from the courts. 

Transgender citizens of New Zealand can now change the gender on their passports through a statutory declaration and without having to change their birth certificates or citizenship documents, The New Zealand Herald reported in December. According to the report, the change, which came into effect Nov 30, permits people to state their gender as male, female or X, for indeterminate or unspecified.
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