• Sweden edition
'Third-sex' fear cited to snip transgender Swedes

'Third-sex' fear cited to snip transgender Swedes

Published: 03 Apr 2013 19:31 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Apr 2013 19:31 GMT+02:00

The Swedish government has proposed a law change that would allow transgender patients to undergo gender reassignment without being sterilized.

On Tuesday, two Christian Democrat MPs submitted a counter proposal, asking that their fellow parliamentarians vote against the government.

"The (government) proposal would have far-reaching consequences," wrote Tuve Skånberg and Annelie Enochson, who also published their argument in an op-ed in the Christian newspaper Dagen on Wednesday. A children's doctor and a psychiatrist were additional co-signatories.

"The key consequence being that Sweden would introduce the possibility of creating a third gender, called "person" in the law books - men who give birth," the MPs stated.

READ ALSO: Love, 22, explains why he doesn't need sex change surgery to live like a man

Current Swedish legislation does not specifically demand that the transgender patients be sterilized, instead stating that he or she must be "infertile".

In practice, however, patients who move on from the psychological evaluation and hormone therapy to undergoing gender reassignment surgery have faced de facto sterilization as their ovaries or testicles were removed in addition to the outer genitalia being taken away and, as far as possible, re-sculpted.

There are examples of Swedes who have chosen to hold off the operation in order not to lose their reproductive capacity.

The MPs' counter-proposal, meanwhile, made the point that there are very few transgender patients in Sweden who actually want to keep their testicles or ovaries once they are receiving treatment.

"More or less all transsexuals who undergo the operation want their original gonads removed," the MPs wrote.

They further referenced a 2007 government-ordered investigation into the matter that concluded there were health risks to keeping gonads while taking hormones. Human rights activists, however, have said such risks are up to doctors and patients to discuss, and not suitable for the realm of lawmakers.

As a part of the government coalition, the Christian Democrat party has forged its identity in the centre-right Alliance by profiling itself as the guardian of family values. The two MPs echoed this on Wednesday by also arguing that the consequences for a child whose father gave birth to him or her needed to be properly investigated.

They therefore asked that Swedish MPs vote against the government's proposal and wait for further research to be conducted.

The Christian Democrats, however, have long faced flack from both opposition and coalition colleagues in parliament over the contentious issue of sterilization, which human rights activists refer to as "forced legislation".

"Supporters of the law don't want the sterilization referred to as 'forcible,' but they didn't want to call it that in the past either,” LGBT activist Pär Wiktorsson told local media two years ago when he and his colleagues invited US father Thomas Beatie to give the opening speech at the Pride Festival, and speak about his experience of giving birth.

"But for transgendereds, the state has always stood behind this demand with the threat of [withholding medical] treatment," Wiktorsson said in explaining why human rights activists call the sterilization "forcible".

Furthermore, even if parliament were to vote down the law reform, it would mean little in practice after a landmark case concluded in the courts system last year.

In December 2012, a Stockholm administrative court of appeal ruled that the sterilization practice violated the European Convention on Human Rights.

The court also ruled that it did not respect civil liberties as guaranteed by the Swedish constitution and that it was discriminatory since it solely targeted transgender people.

TT/The Local/at

Follow The Local on Twitter

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
File photo: TT

Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'

Police in Gothenburg have confirmed that sex trafficking in the city has developed into a full-blown slave trade - but that they lack the resources to do anything about it. READ  

Pirate Bay inmate claims religious persecution
Photo: TT/The Missionary Church of Kopimism

Pirate Bay inmate claims religious persecution

Peter Sunde has complained to prison authorities that his religious rights have been impinged after he was refused permission to contact a representative from a church inspired by the keyboard shortcuts for cut and paste. READ  

Stockholm 'bomb man' jailed and deported
Police at the scene of the threat in June. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Stockholm 'bomb man' jailed and deported

The 43-year-old man who threatened Stockholm's Gamla Stan with a bomb in June was sentenced on Friday to two years in jail, followed by deportation. READ  

Swedish police: 'We're sweaty all the time'
Swedish cops are unhappy with the heat. Photo: Håkan Dahlström/Flickr

Swedish police: 'We're sweaty all the time'

Swedish weather agencies say the summer's warmest day is yet to come, but police in the north have decided that they can't take the heat - and filed a report about the own stifling police station. READ  

SAS resumes flights from Stockholm to Tel Aviv
File photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

SAS resumes flights from Stockholm to Tel Aviv

SAS Scandinavian Airlines has resumed flights from Stockholm to Tel Aviv after the airline completed a 'thorough security analysis' of the situation in Israel. READ  

Swedish man stabs woman and kills himself
A Stockholm police car. File photo: TT

Swedish man stabs woman and kills himself

A man and a woman, reported to be both 45-years-old, were found dead on Thursday in an apartment on Lidingö in Stockholm with police suspecting a murder and suicide. READ  

Police fear arson after Sweden mosque fire
Central Norrköping in eastern Sweden. Photo: Stefan Vilcans

Police fear arson after Sweden mosque fire

Swedish police suspect arson after buildings at a mosque in Norrköping in eastern Sweden burned down in the early hours of Friday morning. READ  

'Moving wasn't a choice, Sweden called to me'

'Moving wasn't a choice, Sweden called to me'

Caught in an identity limbo and surrounded by often apathetic "love refugees", The Local's resident Swedophile Solveig Rundquist wonders if she's the only expat who moved to Sweden for the culture alone. READ  

Swedish inmates to receive digital tablets
Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Swedish inmates to receive digital tablets

Sweden's Prison and Probation Services are beginning a project in which suspected criminals will be given surf tablets to look at evidence against them. READ  

Snake hunt after man claims playground bite
The Swedish adder. Photo: Piet Spaans

Snake hunt after man claims playground bite

A man claimed to have been bitten by a poisonous snake at a paddling pool in Gothenburg on Thursday prompting a hunt which ended without a trace of the offending reptile. READ  

Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
What's On in Sweden
People-watching July 23
Blog updates

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »


22 July

Det (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! “Det” is a personal pronoun that can be used in many ways, and it might me confusing if you always translate “det” to English “it”. In this article I will do my best to guide you to how to use “det”. Det replacing a word, a phrase or a clause Let us begin with the less confusing..." READ »

Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
People-watching July 11-13
Malmö mayor slams Danish beggar ban
Swedish anti-abortion midwife sues county
Swede's salary chopped for Facebook use
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: