When transitioning in the United States, it can be very difficult to procure a legal gender marker change for your birth certificate and driver’s license, and the policies vary by state. Sometimes these policies require proof of an irreversible surgical procedure which prevents an individual from functioning within their birth gender (such as a hysterectomy), therapist or doctor’s letters stating an individual is living as their true gender and undergoing treatment, or simply a copy of a name change and a request for the gender marker to be changed. A listing of requirements by state can be found here. On a federal level, such as for passports or for social security, other requirements must be met, which are detailed here. In Sweden, the requirements are more expansive and discriminatory.
A law enacted in 1972 requires anyone seeking a gender marker change on official ID papers to get divorced if married and to be sterilized. Recently, support for a change in the law has been expressed by the country’s Moderate Party and Liberal Party, but with opposition coming from the Christian Democrat party, a new proposal was outlined to allow individuals to remain married but which still forces sterilization (Pasulka). The Christian Democrats argued for a commission to look into the matter of sterilization (“Sweden keeps…”). The law will be reviewed come spring.
This law undermines the basic human right of the individual to have a say in their own body. Forcing sterilization dehumanizes a person, insinuating their worth only as property, incapable of making choices. Taking away a person’s right of choice in regards to their body is a grievous disrespect. To help fight this law, please sign the petition at AllOut.org.
Pasulka, Nicole. “Forced Sterilization for Transgender People in Sweden.” Motherjones.com. 25 Jan. 2012. Electronic. <http://motherjones.com/mixed-media/2012/01/sweden-still-forcing-sterilization>.
“Sweden keeps sex-change sterilization law.” The Local. 12 Jan. 2012. Electronic. <http://www.thelocal.se/38466/20120112/>.