European Interest

Sweden’s ‘historic decision’ to compensate sterilised transsexuals

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
RFSL holding a seminar in Rinkaby, Sweden.

Transgender people in Sweden who were forced to undergo sterilisation in order to be allowed to change their sex will be compensated. No other country in the world has offered this.

As reported by The Local, hundreds of Swedes had to accept sterilisation before getting official recognition for sex changes between 1972 and 2013. And they can now seek damages.

Equality campaigners at RFSL, Sweden’s largest organisation for gay and transgender rights, welcomed the “historic decision”.

“We have strived for this since 2013 when the requirement of sterilisation to change one’s legal gender was abolished,” RFSL’s trans and intersex spokesperson Emelie Mire Åsell said in a statement. “Money can’t undo the harm of unwillingly losing your reproductive abilities, but the monetary compensation is an important step for the state to make amends to all those subjected to this treatment.”

Five years ago, the Stockholm administrative court of appeal ruled that the practice of forced sterilisations was unconstitutional and in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, and campaigners had been pushing for compensation since.

“Through this whole process RFSL has demanded that the state should, in addition to the monetary compensation, apologize to the whole trans community. Now we hope that the Swedish government will decide to organise a ceremony where a proper apology can be given. Then we can put this truly dark part of Swedish history behind us,” said Magnus Kolsjö, acting president of the organisation.

As many as 700 people will be eligible for compensation and they will receive 225,000 kronor each, reported The Local.

The new law will come into force in May and applications for compensation should be submitted by 2020.

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