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22 May, 2024
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Sweden passes law on gender transition at 16

Debate arises as Sweden redefines gender transition laws

Source: BBC

Sweden's parliament has passed a law lowering the age at which people can change their legal gender from 18 to 16, and making the process easier.

The law passed with 234 votes in favour and 94 against in Sweden's parliament.

Though Sweden was the first country to make gender transition legal, in 1972, the new law has sparked intense debate.

Some say it will make an "important difference" but critics say more research is needed.

Currently, Swedes require a doctor's diagnosis of gender dysphoria to be allowed to change their legally recognised gender.

But under this new law - which would come into force in July 2025 - the process will be simpler, for example a shorter consultation with a doctor or a psychologist will be enough, along with approval from the National Board of Health and Welfare.

Legally changing a person's gender will also be possible from the age of 16, although those under 18 will need the approval of their parents or guardian, a doctor and the National Board of Health and Welfare.

The new law will also separate the process of changing legal gender from gender surgery, which will still need a longer assessment and will still only be allowed from the age of 18.

"It is not reasonable that there should be the same requirements for changing legal gender as for making an irreversible gender confirming surgery," said Johan Hultberg of the ruling Moderate Party, during a lengthy six-hour debate in parliament.

"The great majority of Swedes will never notice that the law has changed, but for a number of transgender people the new law makes a large and important difference," he added.

But the plan is unpopular with those on the right.

The Christian Democrats - who are in the government's coalition - and the far-right Sweden Democrats - who have backed the government - both did not support the law, with many MPs saying they wanted to see more research into gender dysphoria first.

The leader of the Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Akesson, said he thought it was "deplorable that a proposal that obviously lacks support among the population is so casually voted through".

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has defended the proposal as "balanced and responsible".

The public has also been generally less supportive of the law change, with a recent poll by Swedish television network TV4 finding that 59% of Swedes thought it was a bad or very bad proposal, while 22% thought it was a good one, Reuters reported.

A number of European countries have already passed laws making it easier for people to change their legal gender.

Last week, the German parliament passed a similar law no longer requiring a doctor's certificate for someone to change their legal gender - including for under-16s, although they will need the consent of their parents or guardian.

And last year, Spain gave its final approval to a law allowing people over 16 to legally change their gender without medical evaluation.

In the UK, to change your legally recognised gender you need a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, or meet certain other criteria, including having had gender surgery and lived "in your affirmed gender for at least six years".

[Source: BBC]

Cyprus  |  gender  |  Sweden

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