Castration law for Swedish transgenders

A new proposal to introduce castration as a prerequisite for those undergoing gender reassignment surgery in Sweden has been met with outrage by a leading gay and transgender rights organization.

Today, those undergoing gender reassignment surgery in order to achieve sex change usually complement their surgery with hormone treatment.

A side-effect of the hormone treatment is natural sterilization.

However, hormone treatments may be broken off, whether permanently or short-term, allowing for the possibility of pregnancy, as was the case of a British transgender “man” who got pregnant this year.

The new legislation would prevent a pregnancy altogether by making castration obligatory – testicles or ovaries would be taken out in an operation.

The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL) and several patient associations have given a firm thumbs down for obligatory castration.

RFSL has criticized the move as downright discriminatory and insulting.

This may be why the proposal has been gathering dust on Social Minister Göran Hägglund´s desk. Apparently he is currently on holiday, but his press secretary told Svenska Dagbladet newspaper to count on the final proposal being presented in spring 2009.

The number of people applying for sex change operations in Sweden has grown since 1997 when only 16 people requested the surgery.

In 2007, a total of 46 people applied for a sex change.