In Sweden, trans* people will be able to change their gender entry from the age of 16. Other countries are already more advanced.

People at a demonstration.

Gay Pride March in Malmö, Sweden Photo: Pond5/imago

STOCKHOLM taz | Sweden, a late country: being the last of the Nordic countries, it will also have a kind of self-determination law. It's much less momentous, but it's been a long road to get here. Several attempts by previous governments failed. A few days after the vote in Germany, it also worked in Stockholm. 234 of the 328 Reichstag members present voted in favor of the new “gender law” on Wednesday.

94 people, mostly Christian Democrats and Swedish Democrats, voted against. Until recently, they had argued against the new regulations in an unusually long debate in the Reichstag. This did not change the result: from July 2025, trans* people in Sweden will be able to change their legal gender more easily than before: from male to female and vice versa, the diverse category does not appear.

The most important innovation is that the issue of gender entry will in future be regulated in a separate law, independently of the issue of gender reassignment interventions. Until now, in Sweden the medical diagnosis of “gender dysphoria” was the prerequisite for both cases. The purpose of diagnosis is to determine that someone suffers unreasonably due to the contradiction between gender identity and biological sex. Getting them in Sweden can now take between seven and eight years. In the future, diagnosis will no longer be necessary to enter a new name.

The people in question will now be able to finally obtain the legal gender that corresponds to their identity a little more easily. That's what it was about, MP Johan Hultberg stressed after the vote. The “moderate” president of the Social Committee had previously tried to appease opponents: this was a careful modernization of a 50-year-old law. Sweden will continue to have the most restrictive law of all the Nordic countries. However, this step is important.

Reduced age limit

And indeed: in Sweden, a doctor or psychologist will still have to determine in the future that the gender entry will not match the gender identity of the person requesting it in the foreseeable future. The age limit is also being lowered, something that was very controversial, but 16 is still higher than in other countries. And up to the age of 18, young people also need the consent of their legal guardians.

The fact that this law was finally approved was not the biggest surprise: six of the eight parties in the Reichstag had long ago spoken out in favor of the new regulation, although not all unanimously. However, what attracted a lot of attention was the behavior of the two stubborn opposing parties, which are actually part of or collaborating with Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson's (“Moderate”) government.

Kristersson had to work with the opposition in favor of the new gender law, which she had publicly advocated for. So it happened that in the final parliamentary debate the true partners faced each other as enemies and clearly did not fully understand each other's positions.

MP Karin Rågsjö from the left-wing “Vänsterpartiet” was satisfied: “It was the worst defeat for the Sweden Democrats in two years,” she told Swedish television after the vote. “And I have to say, that feels good.”

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