On Tuesday, the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court (Regeringsrätten) ruled that Jan-Olov Ågren can now add ‘Madeleine’ to his name.
The landmark ruling means that from Tuesday onwards, any Swedish adult is free to adopt names traditionally belonging to the opposite sex.
The ruling made Ågren one happy cross-dresser.
“It feels completely wonderful that it was possible to do something about this,” he told the TT news agency.
Last spring, Ågren applied to the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) for permission to add Madeleine to his name.
He was awarded the right to do so by both the Country Administrative Court (Länsrätten) and the Administrative Court of Appeal (Kammarrätten).
But the Swedish Tax Agency had other plans, and appealed all the way up to the Supreme Administrative Court. There too, Ågren emerged the victor.
“It feels important for me because I have used this name for almost 20 years—my lifestyle is such that it has its point.”
“It’s also a matter of principle, of the state interfering in what adults choose to be called.”
According to the Supreme Administrative Court, the name Madeleine is inoffensive and obviously causes no discomfort to Ågren.
The ruling does not specifically mention a man’s right to take on a female name or vice versa, just that the decision applies to all trans-gender individuals.
“That’s what’s so encouraging, that the court has lifted it to this level,” said Ågren.
Lars Tegenfeldt, a legal expert at the Swedish Tax Agency, can only concede that the times are changing with regard to acceptable first names,
“The changes mean that an adult man or woman can easily add another name which might previously have been associated with the opposite sex.”
“We’re probably going to receive a load of applications now,” he told the TT news agency.