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Sweden passes ‘balanced and responsible’ law to make changing legal gender easier

Sweden was the first country to make transitioning legal in 1972

By Alastair James

Swedish flag (Image: Unsplash)

Sweden has passed a “balanced and responsible” law aimed at making life easier for trans people.

The bill also saw the age Swedes can change their legal gender lowered from 18 to 16. The bill was passed on Wednesday (17 April) by 234 votes to 94. It is due to come into effect in 2025.

Sweden, the first country to make transitioning legal in 1972, will now require trans people to have a short consultation with a doctor or psychologist. People will also need The National Board of Health and Welfare to approve as well. People aged 16-18 will also need a parent or guardian’s approval.

Currently, Swedes require a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. The new law also separates changing legal gender from gender-affirming surgery, which will require a longer evaluation and will still be available from the age of 18.

“Balanced and responsible”

The changes were described by Johan Hultberg of Sweden’s ruling Moderate Party as making an “important difference.” As per the BBC, he also said: “The great majority of Swedes will never notice that the law has changed.” He also said: “It is not reasonable that there should be the same requirements for changing legal gender as for making an irreversible gender-confirming surgery.”

Sweden’s Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, said the law was “balanced and responsible”. Meanwhile, it has been criticised, mainly by those on the right, as being “reprehensible.” To pass the law the government sided with Liberals and the centre-left opposition. The government’s coalition partners, the Christian Democrats, as well as the Sweden Democrats, both right-wing parties, voted against the law.

As per Reuters, a recent poll found that 59% of Swedes said it was a bad or very bad proposal. Meanwhile, only 22% thought it was a good one.

Germany also recently updated its laws around changing legal gender, moving towards self-identification.