Transgender Swedes forcibly sterilized to expressly prevent reproduction are eligible for payouts of about $27,000 each under a new law that is reportedly the first of its kind worldwide.
Sweden’s one-house parliament, the Riksdag, adopted the legislation March 21 affecting people forced to undergo sexual sterilization under the Gender Recognition Act of 1972 before changing their gender designation on legal documents.
“People who applied to change their gender identity during the period when it was required that they should not have the ability to reproduce are to receive compensation from the state under certain conditions,” the Riksdag said in a March 21 press release. “This will apply to those who applied to change their gender identity from 1 July 1972 until 30 June 2013 and whose applications were granted. The requirement that people wishing to change their gender identity should not have the ability to reproduce was withdrawn on 1 July 2013.”
The Local, an international news service with websites covering Sweden and eight other European nations, said March 22 that Sweden is the first country worldwide to offer such compensation.
About 800 Swedes who were sterilized under the eugenics requirement, Reuters estimated in 2017 after the law was introduced, are expected to be eligible to apply for the compensation beginning May 1 and extending until an application deadline of May, 2020.
In the nation of 10 million people, the law establishes payouts of 225,000 Swedish Krona, about $27,300 at today’s exchange. The Riksdag also amended Sweden’s Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act to keep secret for up to 70 years all applications for compensation.
Sweden dropped the sterilization requirement from its Gender Recognition Act in 2012 legislation that became effective the next year.
In April 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that infertility requirements were illegal and should be reformed in all European countries, the advocacy group Transgender Europe (TGEU) reported. At that time, more than 20 countries required transgender individuals to undergo sexual sterilization in certain circumstances, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine, TGEU said. Since then, at least Belgium and Russia have outlawed the requirement.
The legal gender recognition in question, according to TGEU, involves changing a transgender person’s name and gender on official registries and documents such as birth certificates, identification cards, passports and drivers’ licenses. The legal designation doesn’t denote a surgical cosmetic change.
Sweden operated an unrelated eugenics program from 1935 until 1996, the Local reported, restricting births among certain segments of the population with disabilities and other arbitrary markers, such as a high number of births. In 1999, the Riksdag approved payouts of about $22,000 each to victims of that program, the Local said.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.)