social sciences
special features
about glbtq

Advertising Opportunities
Press Kit
Research Guide
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
site guide
search tips
research guide
editors & contributors
contact us
send feedback
write the editor
Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter to receive a spotlight on glbtq culture every month.
e-mail address:
Popular Topics in The Arts
Drag Shows: Drag Queens and Female Impersonators Drag Shows: Drag Queens and Female Impersonators
Female impersonation need say nothing about sexual identity, but it has for a long time been almost an institutionalized aspect of gay male culture.
Photography: Gay Male, Pre-Stonewall Photography: Gay Male, Pre-Stonewall
Although sparse in images documenting the gay community, pre-Stonewall gay male photography blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.
Erotic and Pornographic Art: Gay Male Erotic and Pornographic Art: Gay Male
Given the historic stigma around making, circulating, and possessing overtly homoerotic images, the visual arts have been especially important for providing a socially sanctioned arena for depicting the naked male body and suggesting homoerotic desire.
New Queer Cinema
Independent films that aggressively assert homosexual identity and queer culture, the New Queer Cinema can be seen as the culmination of several developments in American cinema.
White, Minor
Renowned photographer, teacher, critic, editor, and curator, Minor White created some of the most interesting photographs of male nudes of the second half of the twentieth century, but did not exhibit them for fear of scandal.
Halston (Roy Halston Frowick)
The first international fashion superstar, Halston dressed and befriended some of America's most glamorous women.
Surrealism Surrealism
An artistic movement that grew out of Dadaism and flourished in Europe shortly after World War I, Surrealism embraced the idea that art was an expression of the subconscious.
Winfield, Paul
Film, stage, and television actor Paul Winfield was openly gay in his private life, but maintained public silence about his homosexuality.
Topics In the News
Sweden Moves to End Sex-Change Sterilization Requirement
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 02/24/12
Last updated on: 02/24/12
Bookmark and Share

Love Georg Elfvelin, a young trans man, explains the importance of the repeal on YouTube.

Although Sweden has long been noted for progressive attitudes toward sex and sexuality, it has maintained a requirement that individuals who wish to alter their gender on legal documents must be sterilized. Despite a campaign to repeal this requirement, which has been characterized as "barbaric," the government had refused to budge because of the opposition of a small conservative party, the Christian Democrats, which is part of a ruling center-right coalition led by the Moderate Party. Now, however, the Christian Democrats have changed their position, thus making possible quick reform.

In January the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare introduced an amendment that said the current legislation violates Article 3 of the European Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights, protecting "the right to respect for [everyone's] physical and mental integrity." While a very large majority of members of the Swedish Parliament supported the amendment to repeal the sterilization requirement, it was blocked by a small conservative party in coalition with the ruling Moderate Party.

Outraged that the repeal was blocked in Parliament, glbtq activists and groups, especially the organization AllOut.org, created a global campaign to pressure the country's officials to take action against the law. According to Jason St. Amand of Edge on the Net, the campaign became the largest online campaign in history supporting human rights for transgender people.

In response to the international pressure, Christian Democrat leaders have now reversed their position. On February 18, the Swedish paper The Local reported that leaders of the party announced that they will now support removal of the sex-change sterilization requirement.

As Nicole Pasulka observes in Mother Jones, the exact date of repeal is uncertain. Still, Andre Banks, executive director of AllOut, said that it will happen soon: "it's just a question of whether the bureaucratic process takes two months, or four months, or six months, and activists in Sweden are going to keep the pressure on." Once the law is officially reversed, trans people in Sweden will get to have their ID and legal documents changed to reflect their gender "without having to go through what is often a really embarrassing terrifying process," Banks said.

Ulrika Westerlund, president of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights, characterized the government's change in position as "incredible news for Sweden," but added, "It's crucial that the new law comes into place as soon as possible."

The current requirement creates real hardship for trans people who resist sterilization. When trans people cannot present official identification that matches their preferred gender presentation, they often suffer humiliation and discrimination.

Love Georg Elfvelin, a young trans man, explains the importance of the repeal in the video below.

Activists working on the AllOut campaign hope that reversing forced sterilization in Sweden will send a signal to other European countries, many of which have the same requirement. By working closely with partners, Banks said, their goal is "to find moments where international solidarity can help tip the balance in favor of greater equality."

"Swedish activists have worked for years to lay the foundation for this victory and I am so proud that AllOut.org could build the international momentum that finally pushed Prime Minister Reinfeldt and party leaders to end this cruel practice," Banks said. "It's a victory for Sweden, but it is also decisive for Europe. AllOut.org members across the continent will continue to push online and in Parliament until each of these appalling laws are thrown out with the trash."

Related Encyclopedia Entries
browse:   arts   literature   social-sciences   discussion boards
learn more about glbtq       contact us       advertise on glbtq.com
Bookmark and Share

glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2015, glbtq, Inc.

Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.