Historic Victory for Trans People – the Swedish Parliament Decides on Compensation for Forced Sterilizations

RFSLPhoto: RFSL/Anna Åberg/Press

Today, March 21st 2018, the Swedish parliament takes the decision to pay compensation to trans people who were forcibly sterilized between 1972 and 2013. Approximately 600-700 people will be eligible for this compensation of 225 000 SEK/~EUR 22 500. Sweden is the first country to compensate trans people for the severe human rights violation that the forced sterilizations constituted.

– It has been a long struggle and I am happy that RFSL has played a great role in this historic victory. We have strived for this since 2013 when the requirement of sterilization to change one’s legal gender was abolished. Money can’t undo the harm of unwillingly losing your reproductive abilities, but the monetary compensation is an important step for the state to make amends to all those subjected to this treatment, says Emelie Mire Åsell, the trans and intersex spokesperson of RFSL.

RFSL welcomes this decision that will mark an end to a very long process. Sweden becomes the first country to pay damages to the victims of forced sterilization as a requirement to attain legal gender recognition. The global trans movement has followed the Swedish process and RFSL hopes that the progress in Sweden can lead the way for other countries to pay damages to trans people who have been forcibly sterilized. Hopefully this will also help push countries who still have this requirement to abolish this harmful procedure.

Sweden has a long history of forced sterilizations of different vulnerable groups. In the 1990’s, the Swedish state paid damages to other groups subjected to forced sterilizations. Trans people will be the last group to now get compensation and restitution.

– Through this whole process RFSL has demanded that the state should, in addition to the monetary compensation, apologize to the whole trans community. Now we hope that the Swedish government will decide to organize a ceremony where a proper apology can be given. Then we can put this truly dark part of Swedish history behind us, says Magnus Kolsjö, acting president of RFSL

Magnus Kolsjö
Acting President of RFSL
+ 46 70 44 18 558

Picture of Magnus Kolsjö and Emelie Mire Åsell