The Swedish government has proposed lowering the age threshold for changing one’s legal gender in the population register from 18 to 16.
The suggestion is part of the referral to the Legislative Council concerning a new gender identity law.
The current gender identity law, introduced some 50 years ago, was the first of its kind in the world, and its replacement has long been discussed and requested by LGBT organizations as well as several parliamentary parties.
Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren emphasized that the novel approach distinguishes between the legal and the medical sphere.
“It is one thing to change legal gender, and we make the assessment in favor of lowering the age limit from 18 to 16 years. When we, on the other hand, talk about medical sex, which is preceded by gender-affirming treatments and medical interventions, the age limit remains,” Lena Hallengren told Swedish Radio.
However, the new approach facilitates making medical changes easier as well. According to the new bill, it will be up to the health and medical services to allow gender-affirming surgery, whereas permits from the National Board of Health and Welfare will no longer be required.
“The question is that healthcare is to assess which treatment is best. Not politics,” Hallengren told Swedish Radio.
The novel proposal has been toned down in comparison to last year’s proposal, in which the government wanted to make it possible for children to apply for a new legal gender in the population register starting from the age of 12.
That proposal was ultimately withdrawn amid criticism.
The Swedish parliament is currently on vacation and expects the Legislative Council to take a position on the bill only after the general election this coming fall.On social media, the proposal has raised eyebrows.
“This is just weird. As a 16-year-old, you will be allowed to change your legal gender but not buy snuff or cigarettes? Not saying one is better than the other, just that it’s weird,” one user wrote.
Others accused the governing Social Democrats of seducing voters ahead of the coming election.
“The socialists are buying votes from the alphabet soup. Just before the election, there will be a lot of this to different groups in the next few months. Don’t buy into it,” another user said.
Sweden has long been celebrated across the Western world for having some of the most liberal LGBT laws. Polls have consistently suggested that an overwhelming majority of Swedes (well over 90 percent) are in favor of LGBT rights and same-sex marriage. LGBT ideology has been supported by all major institutions, ranging from the government and the authorities to the church and the military.
After legalizing homosexual activity in 1944, Sweden became the first country in the world to allow transgender people to change their legal gender following reassignment surgery in 1972, simultaneously declassifying transvestism as an illness. Legal gender change without matching hormone replacement therapy and sex reassignment surgery was allowed in 2013.
However, as the number of adolescents undergoing sex reassignment procedures has shot through the roof across Scandinavia in recent years, doctors have been ringing the alarm bells about a growing number of so-called “regretters” who, plagued by problems that may have only been temporary, opted for irreversible treatment and are left badly disfigured and mentally anguished, sometimes to the point of suicide.
The desire for sex change has been particularly evident among adolescent girls, with the number of patients diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” soaring by more than an order of magnitude within a decade.
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