A group of 142 transgender individuals have sued the Swedish government for forced sterilization of transgender people who underwent gender reassignment surgery. The group is requesting 42.6 million kronor (which is almost 7 million in US dollars) in compensation.
Until late last year, a Swedish law stated that transgender individuals, before undergoing gender reassignment surgery, had to be surgically sterilized (made infertile). On December 19 of last year, the Stockholm Administrative Court of Appeal overturned this law, claiming it was unconstitutional.
The law was repealed in January 2013. A plan to rewrite the legislation is set for July 1.
Sweden faced similar actions when they held a eugenics program from 1935-1996, where some people were subject to sterilization. The government paid these individuals 175,000 kronor in compensation. However, that stipulation only met the needs of the participants.
The sterilization of transgender individual is a separate issue.
Opposers to the repeal of the sterilization law, including two Christian Democratic members of Parliament (MP), were worried that allowing transgender individuals to reproduce would introduce a “third gender” where men could give birth, and are urging the Swedish government to reconsider.
“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 as reported in The Local.
The people who were subject to sterilization had announced in February that they were planning to take the issue to the courts, according to Pink News. They are also hoping for an apology, however that seems unlikely.
“Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has said that the government can’t apologize every time a group wants an apology, but last time I checked there weren’t tons of groups queuing up for an apology for being sterilized,” said transgender actress Aleksa Lungberg, reported by The Local. Lungberg is among those filing the suit.