RFSL has been in dialogue with the department that has said that they will present a bill about voluntarily paying compensation to those who have been sterilized as a consequence of the Gender Recognition Act. Here you will find questions and answers about what happens next.
What happens to the plaint and suggestion of compensation?
RFSL had prepared a plaint against the state about compensation for trans individuals who had been subject to involuntary sterilization, with individuals who had come forward as pilot cases.
They same day that RFSL copied the last papers to put the plaint in the mail, RFSL president Ulrika Westerlund received a phone call from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs.
During the past few weeks RFSL has been in dialogue with the ministry that has said that they will present a bill about voluntarily paying compensation to those who have been sterilized as a consequence of the Gender Recognition Act. This information has just become public, and we can now share it.
How much money will it be, how and when?
The ministry has appointed a committee that will conclude how the compensation will be paid, when and what the sum will be. We have earlier referred to the demand we made in 2013 where we thought that 300 000 SEK was a reasonable sum, taking Swedish compensation praxis into consideration and praxis from the European Court of Justice. In contacts with the committee we have now stated that we believe a slightly higher sum is reasonable and that if we’d had to sue the State we would have asked for a slightly higher sum. The ministry has said earlier that the law should come into force and compensations should start being paid at the latest on July 1st 2018, and we hope that that still stands. For some this might seem like a long time, but it’s much shorter than court process would have been.
This is a proposition of a law that needs to be voted through by a majority in parliament, but as of now there seems to be a majority among the parties.
Is this good and what does it mean?
This is of course very good news and a reason to celebrate a big partial victory. This means that the state and government have acknowledged the abuse that has taken place because of Swedish law’s requirements in changing legal gender.
What happens if the amount isn’t reasonable?
RFSL will monitor what sum the state proposes to pay. If it is reasonable and we judge that the chances of receiving more by going to court are small, we will drop the case. If the amount is too low and we believe that going to court would generate a higher number, we will resume the plaint. We want to remind you that there is no obvious sum, and that we have to make a legal assessment of the situation when we know what the government and the committee suggest and what their arguments are.
Is it only RFSL’s members and those involved in the other organisations’ plaints that can get compensation?
No, the idea is that everyone who has been subject to forced sterilization as a consequence of the Gender Recognition Act should be able to get compensation.
What documents will you need to get compensation? Is there a risk that those who ask for compensation will be publicly exposed?
RFSL has been in dialogue with the committee about what the demands of evidence are and what it will take to fulfill them. Among other things it can be about sending in decision documents from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs’ legal board. RFSL has stated that we believe that the individual should have the opportunity to get guidance in the matter, since it can be hard to know where you can find your decision if you haven’t saved it yourself. We have also said that we think that confidentiality for those involved is crucial.