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Sweden Mulls Easing Legal Gender Change to Reclaim Status as Leading LGBT Nation

CC0 / / Gender
Gender - Sputnik International
The Swedish government is seeking to drastically modernize decades-old gender legislation it deems outdated and is currently working to distinguish the medical and the legal aspects of gender change in order to once again become a world leader in transgender rights.

Legal gender change shall be faster and easier, Social Minister Annika Strandhäll of the Social Democrats party and Democracy Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke of the Green Party, have argued in a joint opinion piece in the daily Svenska Dagbladet. Also, treatment shall be made more accessible to young people who "early realize that were not born into the right body."

Strandhäll and Bah Kuhnke have argued that the laws on the situation of transgender people and gender reassignment introduced in 1972, although groundbreaking at that time, have become outdated. Sweden's once-progressive laws have been surpassed by those of Argentina, Belgium, Norway and Malta, where the individual have become the focal point of the law, they argued. Accordingly, work on further improving the living conditions of the LGBT-community shall continue, both ministers assured.

An important change, introduced in 2013, is that people desiring medical gender correction are no longer required to undergo mandatory sterilization. Those previously affected by the requirement have been granted the right to compensation starting from May 1 this year.

READ MORE: From Tens to Hundreds: Finns Massively Interested in Gender Switch

Today, the Swedish government wants to modernize the legal take on gender by repealing the current legislation and replacing it with two laws, one dealing with the legal aspect of gender change and one with the medical process.

An individual's self-identification and self-perception rather than medical assessment must become the foundation for the new law. According to Strandhäll and Bah Kuhnke, this move will empower transgender persons.

According to the politicians no one shall be forced to undergo surgery to legally change their gender, unless they want to.

Swedish authorities want to fast-track gender reassignment to prevent young people with gender dysphoria from "waiting for an unreasonably long period."

READ MORE: From Tens to Hundreds: Finns Massively Interested in Gender Switch

According to Strandhäll and Bah Kuhnke, transgender people are "one of the most vulnerable groups" in Swedish society. In their opinion piece, they emphasized that the situation is particularly dismal for young transgender people under the age of 30, 30 percent of whom have "seriously considered taking their life" on more than one occasion in the past year alone.

In a related move, the Swedish parliament has endorsed a government proposal to broaden the definition of a hate crime, to make it illegal to "display contempt for and discriminate against" people due to their "cross-gender identity."

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