The Swedish government plans to introduce a bill that will give 225,000 kronor (approximately $26,000) to transgender victims of the government’s mandatory sterilisation process, according to Sweden’s health minister.
From 1972 to 2013, Sweden forced transgender citizens to undergo sterilisation if they wanted to change their gender identity on their state documents. According to Time, the Stockholm Administrative Court of Appeal struck down the sterilisation requirement after ruling it unconstitutional in late 2013. Though source reports that “nearly 800 people” were affected by the law, the social strain from its requirements means that the law’s damages to Swedish transgender people are far-reaching.
Currently, activists are pushing for a larger amount from the government, citing there are also personal damages that transpire from forcing a transgender person to be sterilised. “The sum should be at a level that constitutes a real recognition of the excesses of the state,” the Swedish Federation for LGBT Rights president, Frida Sandegard, told a reporter.
Despite Sweden’s reputation as an LGBTQ-friendly and progressive country, the nation has a dark history with sterilisation and eugenics programs. A Mother Jones report from 2012 on Sweden’s transgender sterilisation law reveals “over 60,000 people between 1935 and 1976 were sterilised against their will” within the general populace, including single mothers, social outcasts, Romani groups, and citizens with mixed-race backgrounds.
Forced sterilisation legislature against transgender people remains a major problem across Europe today, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. According to a report from the Washington Post in February, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, Greece, Russia, and Switzerland still engage in forced sterilisation requirements for transgender people. In 2016, France began allowing transgender individuals to change their legal documents without sterilisation, according to Teen Vogue, making it one of the last countries in Western Europe to strip the requirement from their laws.
The Post also reports that compensation for forced sterilisation is rare, with Sweden being one of the few countries to engage in the practice. Theoretically, this could lead to a precedent where other countries provide payment to victims.