fredag 9 juli 2010

Transgender Persons Rights in the EU Member states contain a number of errors

Upon receiving a copy of Transgender Persons Rights in the EU Member states from the Policy Department C, Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, European Parliament in Brussels, I noted substantial discrepancies in the information contained on Sweden. So I wrote the following mail the the person in charge of the report, Ms Cristina Castagnoli .

I suggest that you thoroughly read through what’s written about your various nations. I suspect that some of the errors on Sweden are due to the fact that the person giving the information on Sweden had no specific knowledge on the legal sitauation in Sweden concerning trans people and no familarity with Swedish legal and adminstrative tradition.

Dear Cristina,
It is with a great interest I've read the report Transgender Person's Rights in EU Member States. However there are some inforation that seem to be incorrect.

Page 6
3.1 Gender reasignement in Member states
a/ memebr states where there is no requirement of hormonal treatmentor surgery to obtain gender reasignment (ie legal gender recognition) ES, HU, FI and UK.

If you do read the Finnish Law on this subject 2002:563 you will find that this law, partly modelled on the Swedish law of 1972 do indeed require surgery, as it requires sterilisation.

The follwing prerequistes for legal gender change in the Finnish law are, A document that establishes that the applicant is gender dysphoric, is sterile (ie can not procreate), of legal age of majority, unmarried, a citizen of Finland or a resident.
A married person may convert his or her marriage to a registred partnership if the spouse/partner agrees.

The legal gender reconition is done through an administrative process (not in a court of law).

3.1 c/ You write Member states where there are no provisions on this matter IE, EL, CY, LV, LT, LU, MT, RO, SI, SK and SE.

As there is a law from 1972 on legal gender change, the first of it's kind in the World, this is erronous, indeed.

These are the provisions;

The demand is that the applicant feels as he or she belongs to the opposite sex, lives accordingly for a long period of time and is to be expectod to do so forthwith (quite similar to the provisions in the Gender Reconition Act/UK) this reuirement correspond with the evidence of gender dysphoria, that the applicant is sterile (ie can not procreate), of legal age of majority, unmarried, a citizen of Sweden.

The legal gender recognition takes place on application to the Forensic Council of the National Board of Health and Welfare which in these matters act as a first level adminstrative court.

There is one issue where the two legislations differ further, in case the applicant wishes to undergo genital reasignement surgey (that is a procedur to re-shape the primary sexual organs) the applicant need the permission of the council. This technically only applies to genital surgeries of preformed within the Kingdom of Sweden.

As you can see both legislation are in regard to hormonal treatment and demands for surgery equal.

Page 7
3.1.1.1 Possibility for a transgender person to get married
a/ member States permit post-operative transsexuals to marry a person of the opposite sex to their aquired gender; BE, DK, DE, EE, EL, ES, FR, IT, LV, LU, NL, AT, SK, FI, SE, UK

This is not quite correct, in the first place a person who has obtained a legal gender recognition in Sweden can marry a person regardless of legal gender since the gender neutral marriage act was promulgatred on May 1st, 2009. Secondly, there have never been any requirement of being post-op per se to be granted legal gender recognition in Sweden. In case of FtM (transmen) this is rather the norm, to abstain from GRS due to poor quality of the surgeries available in Sweden at present.

Page 8
3.2 Change of Name and or forename in cases of legal gender reasignement

b/ In 14 Member States CZ, DK, EL, ES, FR, IT, LV, HU, NL, AT, PT, FI, SE the name can be changes after medical health evaluation and/or surgery and/or hormonal treatment.

In footnote 19 the report further states “In Sweden the procedure is is very heavy and requires Mental health evaluation, real life experiance, hormone treatment, surgery to alter one’s secondary sex caharcteristics and permanet sterility.”

This is quite erronous as there are no other requirements for legal change of name than the requirement stated in obtaining legal gender change until October 2009. In October 2009 the Supreme Administrative Court (Regeringsratten) decided that any person above the age of majority could upon his or her own application change their name to any name the chose to have.

Finally the Index 1 General Table contains errors concerning Sweden.

Gender Reasignement requirements
No provision – this is of course false there is a Law

Possibility to change name in case of gender reasignment
After medical evaluation and/or surgery this is also incorrect

Possibility to change birth certificate
No, but under rewiev

This is utterly false and is most likely due to an erronous note in the Transgender Eurostudy 2008, the person submitting the Swedish replies had no specific legal knowledge and hence this was entered as not possible.

If you go to the 1972 law, this is exactly the provision. If you obtain a legal change, all you personal records are changed.

In a number of European nationals Birth Certificates are not used, at least not in the same sense as in say, UK , Ireland and Aglo-Saxon nations.

Traditionally the records in Sweden were kept by the State Church and the parishes, upon the division of the State from the Church of Sweden this task was left to the Taxation Authorties.

A legal gender recognition has allways the consequence that all birth records are changed in the new gender. There is no such thing as a birth certificate in Sweden. In the situation that you need a document stating when or where you were born, you apply for a certificate that states this and this certificate will allways contain what’s on the official registrary on the day of issue.

I also suggest you update the information on Sweden in Annex 2 as well.

Best wishes,


Ms. Maria Sundin

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