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Sex change ops under review in Sweden

The Swedish Board for Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) has launched a review of the healthcare alternatives available to transsexuals seeking to change gender.

Organizations representing gay, bisexual and transsexual people have long argued that often inconsistent healthcare services do not cater fully to their needs.

Criticism has centred on issues such as the long delays in the sex reassignment process with variations of up to several years depending on locality.

There are also significant differences in price for various operations and procedures among the county health authorities and inconsistencies in how much the transsexuals themselves have to contribute.

“The hope is that we shall offer healthcare for this group which is of high quality and which is consistent across the country, and that it should improve the quality of life for transsexual people,” Håkan Ceder at the board said to Sveriges Radio (SR).

According to legislation passed in 1972, to undergo a sex change operation a person must be over 18-years-old, a Swedish citizen, be sterilized and unmarried.

In order to establish a person’s gender a psychiatric examination must have been completed before an application can be submitted to the Health and Welfare Board’s legal council for confirmation.

Following the confirmation of a new gender the transsexual person is issued with a new personal identification number (personnummer) and are then able to elect to undergo sex reassignment surgery.

The number of people applying for sex reassignment surgery is increasing.

For thirty years it averaged at about 12-15 people per year until 2003, when it climbed to around 25 per year, according to the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL).

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Gay Sweden Democrat backs party’s Pride flag decision

The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats' most senior openly gap MP has defended party colleagues' decision to stop flying the rainbow gay pride flag outside a local city council headquarters.

Gay Sweden Democrat backs party's Pride flag decision
Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch Thor took part in the Stockholm pride parade this August. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT
Bo Broman, who has himself several times attended Sweden's largest Pride parade in Stockholm, told The Local that the rainbow flag was “an important symbol, for me and for many others”. 
 
But he said he did not believe it was appropriate for any political symbol to be flown outside a public building. 
 
“I personally don't think that any political symbol or flag representing organisations, companies, football teams and so on belongs on public flagpoles,” he said. 
 
“No matter how inportant the issue is, public flagpoles should only carry the Swedish flag, the official flag for the municipality, flags from visiting countries and perhaps that of the EU or UN.” 
 
Bo Broman, who was previously the Sweden Democrats' financial chief, became an MP after the 2018 election. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
 
The city council in Solvesborg in the county of Blekinge voted on Thursday to no longer fly the rainbow flag on the flagpole outside its offices, where it has since 2013 been hoisted once a year to show support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people on the day of the pride parade in Stockholm. 
 
The vote has been widely criticised, with Filippa Reinfeldt, the   lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rights spokesperson for the Moderate Party saying the backing the party's local wing gave to the decision was “inappropriate”.  
 
But Broman pointed out that Magnus Kolsjö, a former president of The Swedish federation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rights (RFSL), had also backed Solversborg's decision. 
 
“We need to be able to keep the political, private and civil society on one side, and the state and municipality on the other,” Kolsjö, who is now a Christian Democrat politician, wrote on his blog on Sunday. 
 
“To hoist up a political symbol, even if it stands for values which many support, doesn't fit with the needs to maintain objectivity.” 
 
The council decision was pushed by the ruling four-party coalition of the Sweden Democrats, Moderates, Christian Democrats and the local SoL party.  
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