Update: While a majority in parliament apparently support the change in Sweden’s law that would do away with coercive sterilization of trans people, a small rightwing party has blocked the repeal.


Christine Jorgensen

For about a seven-month period during 2009 I lived in Copenhagen, Denmark, which is where I began living full-time as a woman. While I loved Denmark in many ways, it struck me when I learned how conservative the laws actually are regarding trans individuals who need to update their documentation, post-transition. After all, Denmark is associated with two of the first persons who were widely known to have obtained sex reassignment surgeries: Lili Elbe (Danish citizen who obtained the surgery in Germany in the early 30’s) and Christine Jorgensen (American citizen who obtained the surgery in Denmark in 1952). Hence it surprised me when I found out that just getting a simple name change requires a letter from a physician if the birth name is associated with male while the chosen name is considered female, or vice-versa.

However, knowing that the Scandinavian countries have some similar laws, I wasn’t surprised this morning when I came across a petition regarding trans rights in Sweden. While I think the overall laws are somewhat more liberal than Denmark, it turns out that it is not possible to get a gender marker change in Sweden without a physician’s letter attesting to some type of medical sterilization. While of course bottom surgery (or possibly other procedures, such as hysterectomy in the case of trans men) is a big step in the transition process for some trans people, requiring this in order to have a simple gender marker change is ridiculous.

After all, many trans persons (including myself) may choose never to undergo such procedures. And I can’t help but think of a trans man friend of mine who recently gave birth to a beautiful child. Personally, I couldn’t be more proud of him and I think the fact that he birthed a child makes him more of a man, not less 🙂

Hence, please sign the petition to change this particular law in Sweden.

As for my old friend Denmark, it turns out that there was a similar petition at one time, however it appears that it was not successful 😦