In major U-turn, Sweden poised to end forced sterilization of trans people

Published: February 18, 2012

Conservative Christian Democrats announce, "It’s time to abolish the requirement for sterilization at sex change."

With no remaining obstacles, Sweden’s repeal sets a new precedent for the 28 remaining European countries with laws requiring forced sterilization

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN (February 18, 2012) – Today the conservative Christian Democrats – members of the governing coalition in Sweden and the primary obstacle to ending the policy of forced sterilizations – went public with a decision to reverse their position.  "It’s time to abolish the requirement for sterilization at sex change," leaders of the Christian Democrats wrote in an opinion piece published today in the Swedish press.

The current law forces transgender persons in Sweden to undergo sterilization before legally changing their gender.  The surgery renders a person permanently infertile and unable to have children in the future.

"This is an incredible news for Sweden: it means that anyone will be able to have their true identity recognized without having to be sterilized, says 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 announcement come after several years of mobilization in Sweden followed by a massive international outcry coordinated by AllOut.org, a global alliance of over 850,000 straight, gay, lesbian, bi and trans people. The global campaign to stop forced sterilization in Sweden was the largest online campaign in history supporting human rights for transgender people.

"Swedish activists have worked for years to lay the foundation for this victory and I am so proud that AllOut.org could build the international momentum that finally pushed Prime Minister Reinfeldt and party leaders to end this cruel practice," says Andre Banks, Executive Director of AllOut.org. "It’s a victory for Sweden, but it is also decisive for Europe. AllOut.org members across the continent will continue to push online and in Parliament until each of these appalling laws are thrown out with the trash.” 

Since January, the international campaign coordinated by AllOut.org generated incredible energy on an issue that rarely receives coverage in mainstream media outlets.  After 50,000 Europeans called on Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt to take a clear stand against forced sterilization, one new article rose to the top of Reddit.com, a popular social news aggregator, receiving more than 150,000 views and generating thousands of comments. AllOut.org’s video of Love, a young Swedish transgender man directly impacted by the law has also become an international sensation – generating more than 50,000 views in few days.

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