Sweden needs to live up to the new EU LGBTQI strategy


On November 12 the EU commission presented the EU's first LGBTQI strategy. It's a document that describes the direction of the EU's work with equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and gender-traits, over the coming years.

– It’s important that the EU now puts its foot down and underscores that our rights are important. Especially since right-wing populism is so strong in Europe. Swedish politicians also have homework to do in order for us to live up to the strategy, says RFSL’s president Deidre Palacios.

EU has a lot left to do concerning LGBTQI people’s liberties and rights. Discrimination is wide-spread and in most countries, the legislation doesn’t completely cover discrimination. In many EU countries, hate crime legislation doesn’t cover crimes of violence based on sexual orientation.

The strategy strongly focuses on trans people’s and intersex people’s rights. Among other things, it highlights the need to include trans people and intersex people in anti-discrimination legislation. The strategy addresses that trans people should be able to change their legal gender based on self-identification and that countries should prohibit genital surgery on intersex children. The EU commission also suggests a ban on the EU level against forcing trans people to sterilise themselves in order to be able to change their legal gender.

– Swedish politicians really have homework to do in order for us to live up to the strategy. Sweden needs to ban early genital surgery on intersex children. We also need to, more clearly, include intersex people in the anti-discrimination legislation and we need a new gender recognition act now, says RFSL’s president Deidre Palacios.

The strategy contains many new propositions. The commission suggests that all EU countries should recognise family ties established in another EU country. That means that two men who have gotten married in Sweden would be able to stay married even if they move to a country where same-sex couples cannot marry. It also means that a female couple who move to Sweden with their child both would be recognised as parents here too, which is not the case today.

Another proposition is that hate crime should be added to the list of EU common crimes, which would mean that hate crimes against LGBTQI people would be a punishable offence in all countries.