News | Sweden | Transgender

Man Asks for Help, Says Swedish Government Forcing Him to Get Sterilized for Being Transgender: VIDEO


The Swedish Government mandates forced sterilization of any trangender person who wants to legally change his or her gender.

Love Georg Elfvelin, a 21 year old store manager in Sweden, explains, in a new video:

"I'm trans. That means I am born in a female body but my heart says I'm a man. I'm speaking out today because the Swedish government is forcing thousands of people like me to make an impossible choice. If I need to change the gender of my identity cards to reflect my true self, just a small change from an 'F' to an 'M', my country forces me to be sterilized."


Activist group AllOut adds, in a release:

If you are a transgender person in Sweden wanting to change your legal gender, you are forced to undergo surgery that will render you permanently infertile and unable to have children in the future. That's right: in 2012, Swedish law still mandates forced sterilization in order to do something as simple as changing the gender on your driver's license.

Despite a massive push to repeal the law, including support from 90% of Swedish MPs, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has stayed silent on the issue: allowing one small conservative party to block the change.

Right now a reform of the law is being debated in Sweden. We need a massive show of support across Sweden and Europe that finally convinces PM Reinfeldt to speak out and break the deadlock.

AllOut encourages you to sign the petition HERE.

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  1. @THIMMY: As I understand it, the issue is that gender and sex are two separate things. Gender is a social construct, usually defined by the masculine or feminine roles and traits we take on. Sex is (typically) considered the physical, biological state. One's sex does not define one's gender. So, in fact, you CAN keep your ovaries and vagina and identify as being of the male gender.

    "But if you want to be a gender, you have to be that gender."

    And that's the crux of it--he *is* that gender. He *is* male, regardless of his physical form. And he contests the idea that his reproductive rights should be taken from him in order to *be* male.

    Posted by: Dan | Jan 20, 2012 3:58:07 PM

  2. Dan,
    Then we should have a gender status (M/F) AND sex (M/F) on documents like passports?

    Posted by: Brian | Jan 20, 2012 4:17:23 PM

  3. "I still do not understand how T got lumped in with me."

    Why don't you ask the anti-gay bigots. They don't see any difference. Heck, for most of the last few centuries they considered YOU just like them.

    As to the question of why would this man want to keep the reproductive organs he was born with? Perhaps simply because they're the only ones he has or will ever have.

    And, lastly, any government that can tell you to radically alter your physiology can tell you who you can marry.

    Posted by: BobN | Jan 20, 2012 4:42:57 PM

  4. As I understand it, Sweden isn't saying, "You have to give up your ovaries and get a peen before we'll recognize you as male." Sweden is saying, "Okay, we'll change that F to an M, but first, you have to let us go in and cauterize your fallopian tubes."

    It's not about changing gender, it's about eugenics--about intentionally sterilizing an 'undesirable'. It's wrong simply on principle.

    Posted by: mo | Jan 20, 2012 4:53:49 PM

  5. It’s the first time that I read a trans man pleading his case of keeping her woman side. So it’s not like he is forced to do it, unless he wants legal recognition. So it would be to be legally recognizing a man who can give birth. Mmm… I see her strange case. But not totally convinced. Certainly it pales in comparison to the injustices faced by trans in other parts of the world. Medically speaking don’t have information about how the masculine hormones a trans man take can affect a forming baby, it should be contemplated or at least researched if there is not enough background.

    Posted by: Pochocla | Jan 20, 2012 5:48:17 PM

  6. TOWLEROAD a site with trans tendencies.

    Posted by: RealLife | Jan 20, 2012 5:50:36 PM

  7. What I don't understand is why the hell the Swedish government thinks anything good could come from a policy like this. Why on earth would the state want to be the fertility police, whether for people with gender identity issues or anyone else? I don't get who's supposed to benefit.

    And sweet jumping Jesus, all you atrocious queens bitching about the affront of having to read trans-related news: if you really can't see how the civil liberties of OTHER SEXUAL MINORITIES relate to your gay-but-not-trans selves, then you don't deserve any of the freedoms won on your behalf by those who went before you. A little self-awareness, please.

    Posted by: piminnowcheez | Jan 20, 2012 6:08:10 PM

  8. TOWLEROAD a site where you support the trannies by calling gays “atrocious bitching queens”.

    Posted by: RealLife | Jan 20, 2012 6:17:14 PM

  9. I feel compelled to say sorry to our trans brothers and sisters, for the ignorant and pathetic views some people feel they need to share.
    Its so fun to get to exclude someone and so easy to forget how it feels.

    As far as this story goes, i dont think a complex surgery that can ruin your ability to feel sexual pleasure should be required for the government to respect how you want to be identified( I say this assuming they want you to be sterile as well as having an accurate looking new set of genitals). Surgeries like this are very expensive(possibly covered in Sweden i dont know), and should only be done when and if the person getting said surgery feels the quality of life improvement mentally is worth the physical risk.

    i think there are way more terrible people in the world who should be sterilized besides someone who is just looking for some respect.

    Posted by: Trevor | Jan 20, 2012 6:24:14 PM

  10. Queer 101: Gender identity, morphological sex, and sexual preference are not all the same thing. There are plenty of queer transpeople. The enforcement or norms about which sexes are encouraged or punished as a result of connecting with which other sexes affects ALL LGBTQ people.

    One can be a gay man with a female body who prefers sex or relationships with men (with male, or female, or intersexed bodies, just to make it all more interesting).

    Equality is not a zero-sum game - queer people will not be more accepted by trashing trans people. Read Gayle Rubin's essay "Crossing the Line" for a cogent explanation for horizontal hostility among the sex/gender oppressed. We must stop doing the oppressor's work for them.

    Posted by: Dreidl | Jan 20, 2012 6:29:51 PM

  11. Some people seem desperate to squeeze the straight people’s issues (I mean, the trans women, men) as one of our first flags of battle. Sympathizing and supporting is one thing, another is forcing us to assume them as our very own. I don’t think trans can understand a gay person in full and in the same way I don’t think gays/lesbians can understand straight-trans in full as to adopt a full confrontational opinionated stand. And if that is not forced enough, some delusional folks pretend that we can afford to swallow and apprehend all the little subtleties of the endless varieties of the trans cases, and in consequence to dictate elaborated postures on what the laws should say or allow. Imagine what it must be for the hetero folks then. If we as gays are vilified for not having the full grasp of the whole trans mumble jumble, I can’t imagine what is left for the heteros. And by the way, being insulted by straight people, whether trans or hetero, won’t make us more supportive, au contraire.

    Posted by: JustGay | Jan 20, 2012 8:00:51 PM

  12. This ia tough one but a man can not bear children and if you wish to truely live your life as a male then you should accept that you can not bear children. Likewise when a male decides to live their life as a female they know they will not bear children. Sexual realignment involves not being able to reproduce. The gay community asks a lot when we ask others to allow us to live as men but still get pregnant. Is an M or F on a license what makes us who we are? If you say yes then sacrifices will be worth it to you. If I were trans I would just want my rights and if I kept my penis I would not mind using a men's room so long as others wouldn't beat me because I had a female appearance. After all, I only want to take a piss. For purposes of law enforcement your license should reflect your genitalia. Now if we could only ensure that the cops wouldn't be the threat.

    Posted by: terry | Jan 20, 2012 8:43:08 PM

  13. There's something fishy here. A draconian, totalitarian policy in enlightened,liberal Sweden? In 2012? Head-scratchingly anachronous and incongrous and totally out of whack with what Sweden have stood for in the last 100 years.

    Posted by: Manny Espinola | Jan 20, 2012 11:04:25 PM

  14. I am disgusted at the ignorance and selfishness expressed in the comments section. You have to be truly unimaginative to not understand how gay and transgender rights might be interlinked. I suppose this would be like an African American saying they don't understand why the discrimination faced by Latino immigrants is any concern of theirs.

    As human beings, we should be concerned about government infringing on people's rights. But as fellow sexual minorities, we should be especially concerned with the government issuing edicts on what someone has to do in order to be considered a certain gender. Let's look at this another way. What if the government suddenly decided that if your voice was not low-pitched enough that you had to take hormones before you could be considered a male? As a fairly masculine gay man, I suppose I can just adopt the attitude of some of the commenters and not worry about such things. We can just keep dissecting ourselves into smaller and smaller groups and only be concerned with ourselves.

    Posted by: ShawntheSheep | Jan 21, 2012 12:42:08 AM

  15. the categories 'gay' and 'trans' are no more related than 'black' is to 'trans' or 'disabled' is to 'trans.' i think it's time that gay men question why gay organizations in particular are tied in with trans issues. there are no other minority communities that constantly go out of their way to fight for the rights of an unrelated group. i have nothing against trans people, but if we are morally obligated to concern ourselves with discrimination against trans people, are we not also obligated to concern ourselves with the rights of immigrants, women, racial minorities, etc?

    Posted by: louie | Jan 21, 2012 3:22:49 AM

  16. @ louie, its called adding your voice to the choir, strength in numbers etc. why do any straight people bother siding with gay people?

    trans people are some of the most abused people in the world, shunned apparently even from other sexual minorities(which is what we are and what they are thus the connection)!

    Including trans people in the fight for equal rights doesn't hurt us, and it doesn't make you transgendered if that's what your fear is.

    On a different note, just because a story is on a gay blog doesn't mean it directly relates to gay men. People who run blogs post things of interest. No one is forced to read a story, and please don't feel compelled to comment.

    Posted by: Trevor | Jan 21, 2012 4:00:59 AM

  17. Does anyone know if he is Gay or Straight?

    Posted by: Pedigru | Jan 21, 2012 6:08:11 AM

  18. Supportive Straight People!

    As you can see, support from person to another can only be justified if they have anything in common. For that reason, many gay men feel they should be spared from hearing about the transgendered. So please, don't bother expressing your support for us in any way. We are different from you, therefore you don't have to support us, or even to hear about our plight.

    Posted by: HoHo | Jan 21, 2012 10:02:17 AM

  19. Jesus, with all the "transpeople have NOTHING TO DO WITH ME" idiocy on here, it's like sitting in on a board meeting at HRC.

    Posted by: johnnie | Jan 21, 2012 3:52:18 PM

  20. I’m so over with the “YOU MUST” about the trans folks, that the only voice I’m tempted to utter is of disdain. But in the other hand is not the trans folks’ fault, it’s the self elected, self entitled “activist” who really think they can voice their opinions upon the entire gay/lesbian community and anyone disagreeing must be called names –usually the SAME NAMES bigots use against us- to punish into shame and force us into submission. Don’t waste your time; we are used to be considered disgusting creatures. Whatever, if you think understanding is a bridge you build with anger you will surprised that it never works. If anything, it’s like building a wall instead, and a high one.

    Posted by: Pochola | Jan 21, 2012 4:38:31 PM

  21. It amazes me how many commenters jump to assumptions about this person rather than listening with an open mind and letting him decide what is best to do with his own body.
    Most women have breasts and a vagina. Millions of women are flat-chested. Should they all be forced to have silicone implants too? If a man loses his penis due to cancer, should we not allow him in the men's room anymore even though he identifies as male?
    Rin: He doesn't say anything in this video about which sex he is attracted to or what kind of hobbies he has or what his favorite color is or anything like that. He has always felt male psychologically; I wouldn't presume to know why. He clearly looks male too, and would look strange (and maybe even cause alarm) if he were to go into women's facilities.
    @Terry: For "purposes of law enforcement" our ID should reflect our genitalia? I don't know about you, but I have never in my entire life had a police officer checking transit passes or doing a driver's check stop asking to see my genitalia. My genitalia is none of his business.
    I can only imagine what it is like to be trans and to be confronted with prejudice every day. But it is easy for me to imagine that someone in this guy's shoes would multiply his difficulties in life if he had to hand a card to every nightclub doorman or roadside police officer exposing the very personal information that he has a vagina. That's nobody's business but his own. Andnobody should be forced to have a painful and unnecessary operation just in order to fulfill someone else's expectations about what his naked body should look like just so that he can function in society.

    To those complaining that there is a transgendered issue here: is this your first time reading this blog? This is not a gay-only blog. It's a blog with "homosexual tendencies.". It 's got a lot of gay content, but there is also content about straight people, bi people, trans people, intersexed people, asexual people, science and technology, silly viral videos with talking dogs and waving bears, black civil rights pioneers, national disasters, architectural wonders, and anything else the blogger personally finds interesting and wants to share.
    Towleroad is successful because tens of thousands of readers find any number of these topics interesting in addition to the content on gay issues.
    Why click on a story and then complain that you're reading it?

    Posted by: Gregv | Jan 22, 2012 6:40:03 PM

  22. "...but if we are morally obligated to concern ourselves with discrimination against trans people, are we not also obligated to concern ourselves with the rights of immigrants, women, racial minorities, etc?"

    @Louie: Yes! I definitely believe that we are ALL morally obligated to stand up for fair treatment for EVERYONE. The great civil rights leaders always understand this principle and are not out for rights only for themselves. Towleroad never fails to report on important threats to groups such as those you mentioned, and I would hope that gay people (at least those who "get it") would be first in line to oppose any attempt to take away the right of women or blacks or anyone else... inluding trans people.

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 22, 2012 7:01:10 PM

  23. Isn’t it lovely in our modern day the state still can have the power to define for us who our identity is and if we are to cohabitate with others in society the state has deemed the right to cut you to size. Literally….

    Posted by: scallywag | Jan 25, 2012 2:25:07 PM

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