AND I THOUGHT banning transgenders from flights in Canada was ridiculous. Things are a little more frightening in Europe.
Earlier this year, the Swedish parliament voted not to repeal a 1972 law that forces sterilization and divorce on transgender individuals seeking to change their gender on legal documents. The news was shocking not just because of the vote, but because many citizens were not aware the law even existed. Particularly in Sweden, generally considered to be a “gay-friendly” country with one of the highest rates of support for same-sex marriage in the world.
The above map, created using data compiled from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, shows that Sweden isn’t the only country with this law. 17 countries total, including France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Poland, require people to sterilize themselves in order to change their gender on paper. According to Mother Jones, the law is currently under review in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Portugal, while in Ireland no laws exist on the matter.
In a report on transgender rights that discusses the law, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe states: “These practices run counter to the principle of respect for the physical integrity of the person, in particular because transgender people appear to be the only group in Europe subject to legally prescribed, state enforced sterilization.” Never mind the fact that individuals who don’t identify themselves as male or female aren’t even acknowledged in the matter.
As Swedish citizen and transgender activist Love Georg Elfvelin put it, “I can either be represented correctly, or have my basic human rights violated.”