And Just When You Thought That Sweden Was Totes Liberal

Freedom From Forcible Sterilization is the oft-overlooked middle child in the family of Reproductive Rights, often overshadowed by her spunky little sister Abortion Rights and older sister Sexual Education. That transgender Swedes are required to be sterilized in order to legally be represented as the gender that they identify as is a travesty. This same law also prohibits the freezing of sperm or eggs before a corrective surgery.
Forcible sterilization, the governmental institution of physically stripping a female-bodied person’s right to have children, is nothing new. I’m particularly disappointed that a progressive country such as Sweden still doesn’t understand the inherent oppression in this.
Historically, it combines classism and racism (determining which people are “worthy” of having children) with sexism (“woman can’t be in control of their own bodies!”). A potent cocktail. The history of the United States is riddled with tales of forcible sterilization: Angela Davis has written fairly extensively on how Native Americans and African America women have a storied history of being sterilized often without informed consent. Often, those with the least privileged and represented in government (such as the mentally challenged, the Native American population) are the targets.
And get this: the Netherlands only recently repealed their compulsory sterilization of transpeople this year. You read that correctly: the Dutch couldn’t get their act together until now.
Choosing who has children and when they do should not be a government’s decision. In a society that is predicated on the notion (one might call a fallacy) that all people are equal, forcible sterilization is straight-up eugenics. And have you ever heard the word “eugenicist” used to describe anybody approvingly? No, just like “fascist” or “Palin-esque.” Forcible sterilization is terrible, and the fact that it is specifically created in order to regulate transpeople. This is infinitely problematic.

To read more, check out this article from Salon:

http://www.salon.com/2011/11/02/sweden_transgender_sterilization/

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~ by Hayley Cavataro on November 16, 2011.

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