No, we are not campaigning against the sex purchase act

The Swedish Women's Lobby and others clearly show what they think about LGBTQI people's rights when they attack RFSL with erroneous statements and question our funding and existence in practice.

October 30 2019

It’s an unreasonable reaction to having different opinions in a question of fact. The Swedish Women’s Lobby knows full well that RFSL has never believed that the sex purchase act, introduced 20 years ago, would be a solution for LGBTQI people who sell sex. We listen to the voices of our movement and have studied the practical consequences of criminalisation among LGBTQI people who sell sex.

RFSL believes that it’s important to make different perspectives visible in the societal debate. It is serious when one interest organisation starts attacking another’s right to express itself. We are sick of not only being attacked in debate articles and social media hunts but also of being thwarted in direct contacts with authorities and financiers and in forums that have nothing to do with the issue of the sex purchase act. Are you prepared to sacrifice the democratic space of the LGBTQI movement because we have made different analyses and have a different standpoint in a question of fact?

RFSL’s prioritised areas since 2018 are asylum and migration, senior citizen issues, family issues and trans people’s rights. We work broadly with politics, education and social work. We support LGBTQI people who are subject to violence and crimes through counselling, contact with authorities and making police reports, etc. Since 1950, we have amassed a unique knowledge about LGBTQI people’s living conditions.

RFSL isn’t campaigning against the sex purchase act, and it is not something we discuss when we’re hired to do training or other services. This year, RFSL supported a conference that offered critical perspectives on the sex purchase act, where people who sell sex themselves were included. At the conference organised by, among others, the Swedish Gender Equality Agency and the Swedish Women’s Lobby, there were no critical voices, and RFSL was criticised on stage without being given the opportunity to respond, and without anyone reacting to it.

We can’t have a debating atmosphere with a demand for consensus where those who have a different opinion are miscredited and thwarted. We wish for a better climate of dialogue in the future; a climate which can contribute to a strong civil society with different actors who defend human rights from different perspectives.

Deidre Palacios, president
Frank Berglund, vice president

Debattartikeln publicerades i Aftonbladet den 30 oktober 2019