Sweden To Compensate Trans People Who Were Legally Forced Into Sterilization

The antiquated law required transgender Swedes to undergo sterilization in order to legally change their gender.

The Swedish government has pledged to provide upwards of $5 million in compensation to transgender people who were legally forced into sterilization based on a historical anti-trans law.

Health Minister Gabriel Wilkström (below) announced last week that the government is prepared to introduce a bill that would award $26,000 to each person affected by the measure.

Sweden's Minister for Health Care, Public Health and Sport, Gabriel Wikstrom (C) of the Social Democrat, hands out leaflets with Annika Strandhall (R), Minister for Social Security and Social Democrat at Sergels Square in central Stockholm, Sweden on December 3, 2014. Earlier the government announced fresh elections after failing to get its budget through the parliament.  AFP PHOTO / TT NEWS AGENCY/  MAJA SUSLIN  +++  SWEDEN OUT +++        (Photo credit should read MAJA SUSLIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Maja Suslin/Getty Images

From 1972 to 2013, Swedish law required all trans people to be sterilized if they wanted their gender identity to be legally recognized by authorities.

The restrictions specified that people who wanted to change their legal gender had to be “lacking the ability to procreate,” a requirement that left hundreds of transgender Swedes unable to have children.

It was later ruled that this practice was wrong and violated European Human Rights.

“The demand for sterilization that existed previously laid out a vision from which today’s society wishes to distance itself and the government believes it was wrong to demand it,” Wikstrom said.

While the initial sum was celebrated by transgender-rights groups, activists in the country say they will continue to push for more compensation.

“The sum should be at a level that constitutes a real recognition of the excesses of the state,” said Swedish LGBT group RFSL President Frida Sandegard.

After Sweden deemed the law illegitimate in 2013, 150 trans people banded together to call for an official apology from the government and to demand compensation. It’s believed that nearly 800 people were affected by the law.

Kerstin Burman of Swedish LGBT group RFSL said: “Monetary reparations cannot completely compensate for the violations of forced sterilization, but financial redress initiated by the government is an official acknowledgement that these actions were wrong and that the State should not have treated its citizens in this way.”

h/t: Pink News

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