Sweden's parliament makes it easier for young people to change gender

A view of the Swedish Parliament as lawmakers vote on the new gender identity law, in Stockholm, Wednesday, April 17, 2024.
A view of the Swedish Parliament as lawmakers vote on the new gender identity law, in Stockholm, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. Copyright Jessica Gow/JESSICA GOW
Copyright Jessica Gow/JESSICA GOW
By Euronews with AP
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The centre-right governing coalition's two biggest parties supported the legislation, which ultimately passed easily.


The Swedish parliament has passed a law lowering the age for people to change their gender identity from 18 to 16. 

Those under 18 still need approval from a guardian, a doctor and the National Board of Health and Welfare.

The law also stipulates that an official diagnosis for gender dysphoria, a condition of psychological distress experienced by those whose gender expression does not match their gender identity is no longer required. 

The bill was passed 234-94 with 21 lawmakers absent, following a debate that lasted for nearly six hours.

Sweden joins a number of countries with similar laws including Denmark, Norway, Finland and Spain.

Johan Hultberg of the Moderates party, which is led by Sweden’s prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, called the outcome “gratifying.” Hultberg commented that the law was “a cautious but important reform for a vulnerable group. I’m glad we’re done with it."

Several took to Twitter to congratulate Hultberg for shepherding the legislation. Political adviser to the Swedish Minister for Climate and the Environment commented, "The greatest of praises to @HultbergJohan (M) for his efforts in the debate on the gender identity law today."

Kristersson's centre-right coalition had been split on the issue, with the Moderates and the Liberals largely supporting the law while the smaller Christian Democrats opposed it.

The Sweden Democrats, a socially conservative party with far-right roots that supports the government in parliament but is not part of the governing coalition, also opposed the law.

Party leader Jimmie Åkesson posted on X that "it should be investigated to what extent sex-correcting surgery must be paid for by Sweden's taxpayers".

Peter Sidlund Ponkala, chairman of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Rights, known by its Swedish acronym RFSL, called the law's passage “a step in the right direction” and “a recognition for everyone who has been waiting for decades for a new law.”

Last Friday, German lawmakers approved similar legislation, making it easier for transgender, intersex and nonbinary people to change their name and gender in official records directly at registry offices.

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