QBits

"The rainbow facility will accommodate mainly for people aged 55 and over.

Responding to fears over ghettoization and how the LGBT community could become outcast, chairman Christer Fällman said it will not be seen as a ‘move back into the closet.’

He said: ‘Anyone will be allowed to live there. It will be another form of integration.’

It seems the association is also hoping that while this may be the first retirement home of its kind, it will perhaps spark a trend in Sweden for more to open up in the future.

'I know already they are looking at doing something similar in Gothenburg,' Mononen said.

Emma Green Tregaro had been told by Swedish officials that the rainbow gesture, which brought international attention as a protest against Russia’s new law against gay “propaganda,” could be a violation of the competition’s code of conduct.

"It was harder to not paint them in the rainbow than it was to choose to paint them," Green Tregaro said Saturday. "I’m surprised by the big reactions but I’m happy about the big reaction because it’s mostly been very positive."

The 28-year-old Green Tregaro won the bronze medal at the 2005 world championships, but she only managed to finish fifth on Saturday at Luzhniki Stadium.

She said the Swedish athletics federation asked her to “please respect the rules” and change the colour of her nails.

"So I decided to paint them red instead, for love," Green Tregaro said.

Gay rights high jumper forced to repaint rainbow nails

There’s always the closing ceremonies. : )

Halebop Hockey - English version (by halebop)

Cute commercial from Sweden on coming out in the locker room.

Q.

A married Ugandan gay couple have won their case to stay in Sweden. Lawrence Kaala obtained a residency permit in Sweden yesterday (28 February), after fears he would be deported back to native Uganda with its strict anti-gay laws.

Justice serves in Swedish trans rape case

At least the appeals court got it right: rape is rape.

Q.

Rapist of trans woman convicted in appeals court
61-year-old convicted of attempted rape of trans woman in Sweden

A 61-year-old man who was acquitted of a violent rape in Sweden because the victim is a transgender woman has been convicted at appeal.

The Göta Court of Appeal convicted the man of attempted rape and sentenced him to 15 months in prison and ordered him to pay 40,000 kronor ($6,000, €4,630) compensation.

‘This ruling shows that you can be convicted for attempted rape regardless of the gender identity of the victim,’ prosecutor Eva Grandestedt told Sveriges Television, The Local reports.

In July Judge Dan Sjöstedt acquitted the defendant saying he ‘would never have been able to carry out the planned criminal activity as he was attempting to rape a woman’.

Göta Court of Appeal in Jönköping ruled that as the victim ‘looked and dressed completely like a woman’ the attempted rape is ‘worth taking seriously’.

Sweden’s New Gender-Neutral Pronoun: Hen

Fascinating article and shows how easy it is to be more gender neutral when a society wants to be more gender neutral…

Q.

A country tries to banish gender.

Leklust catalog, Sweden
Leklust catalog, Sweden
By most people’s standards, Sweden is a paradise for liberated women. It has the highest proportion of working women in the world, and women earn about two-thirds of all degrees. Standard parental leave runs at 480 days, and 60 of those days are reserved exclusively for dads, causing some to credit the country with forging the way for a new kind of nurturing masculinity. In 2010, the World Economic Forum designated Sweden as the most gender-equal country in the world.

But for many Swedes, gender equality is not enough. Many are pushing for the Nordic nation to be not simply gender-equal but gender-neutral. The idea is that the government and society should tolerate no distinctions at all between the sexes. This means on the narrow level that society should show sensitivity to people who don’t identify themselves as either male or female, including allowing any type of couple to marry. But that’s the least radical part of the project. What many gender-neutral activists are after is a society that entirely erases traditional gender roles and stereotypes at even the most mundane levels.

Activists are lobbying for parents to be able to choose any name for their children (there are currently just 170 legally recognized unisex names in Sweden). The idea is that names should not be at all tied to gender, so it would be acceptable for parents to, say, name a girl Jack or a boy Lisa. A Swedish children’s clothes company has removed the “boys” and “girls” sections in its stores, and the idea of dressing children in a gender-neutral manner has been widely discussed on parenting blogs. This Swedish toy catalog recently decided to switch things around, showing a boy in a Spider-Man costume pushing a pink pram, while a girl in denim rides a yellow tractor.

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Sweden set to drop sterilisation rule for official trans recognition
by
20 February 2012, 12:17pm
      

The Swedish Christian Democrat party has abandoned its support for the rule which requires transgender people to be sterilised before the state recognises their gender and so cleared the way for repeal.

77,000 people signed an AllOut.org petition calling on the country to reverse the ban, which the organisation said is the largest-ever online movement to protect trans human rights.

AllOut.org said the announcement should set a precedent for the 28 countries in Europe with similar rules.

The move was being held back by the Christian Democrats, one of four parties in Sweden’s ruling coalition.

A protest was held outside the Swedish embassy in London earlier this month objecting to the governing coalition’s position on the 1972 law.

The Christian Democrats have now reversed their position, writing in the Swedish Press: “It’s time to abolish the requirement for sterilization at sex change.”

Ulrika Westerlund, President of the Swedish Federation for LGBT Rights said: “This is an incredible news for Sweden: it means that anyone will be able to have their true identity recognized without having to be sterilized.

“It’s crucial that the new law comes into place as soon as possible.”

Andre Banks, Executive Director of AllOut.org said: “Swedish activists have worked for years to lay the foundation for this victory and I am so proud that AllOut.org could build the international momentum that finally pushed Prime Minister Reinfeldt and party leaders to end this cruel practice.

“It’s a victory for Sweden, but it is also decisive for Europe. AllOut.org members across the continent will continue to push online and in Parliament until each of these appalling laws are thrown out with the trash.”

According to the Council of Europe, the European countries which currently require sterilisation are: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the Ukraine.

Others, including the UK, do not impose this obligation on trans people.

Europe upholds Sweden’s right to curtail homophobia
European Court of Human Rights backs Sweden in homophobic leaflets dispute
European Court of Human Rights backs Sweden to convict homophobes.
 

European Court of Human Rights has said countries can convict people who distribute gay hate material and doing so doesn’t breach rights to freedom of expression.

In the case of Vejdeland and Others vs. Sweden, the court today (9 February) unanimously judged that Swedish law can convict those distributing homophobic leaflets without breaching the European Convention of Human Rights.

The court, dealing with hate speech directed at homosexual people for the very first time, added that the activities of those spreading homophobic propaganda are not protected by the freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 10 of the convention.

In December 2004, Tor Fredrik Vejdeland, Mattias Harlin, Björn Täng and Niklas Lundström were caught at a Swedish upper secondary school distributing anti-gay leaflets. Statements in the leaflets alleged to homosexuality as a ‘deviant sexually proclivity which has a morally destructive effect on the substance of society.’ Additionally, the homophobic comments inextricably linked homosexuality to the development of HIV and AIDS.

In July 2006, the Swedish Supreme Court convicted the applicants of ‘agitation against a national or ethnic group’ under Swedish hate crime legislation. The verdict was appealed by the four men, claiming that Swedish law had ‘constituted a violation of their freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights.’

ILGA-Europe, the European branch of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association praised the Court’s rejection of the appeal.

Martin KI Christensen, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s executive board, commented on the verdict: ‘This is a truly important and landmark judgement. For decades lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people have been subjected to an avalanche of offensive, unfounded, discriminatory and defamatory rhetoric.

'Today the court clearly recognized that such statements are offensive to the entire community, and individuals and organizations expressing, publishing and disseminating such remarks cannot justify themselves with the right of expression guaranteed by the convention.’

Sweden to keep sterilising trans people
Compulsory sterilization to remain for transgender people who go through gender reassignment surgery

13 January 2012 | By Calum Ross

Legislation regarding the sterilization of people undergoing gender reassignment surgery will remain unchanged in Sweden.
Photo by Holger Ellgaard.

The mandatory sterilization of people undergoing gender reassignment surgery will continue in Sweden amid an outcry that it breaches the reproductive rights of transgender people.

Talks to amend the legislation were put on hold following opposition from the Christian Democrats.

In order to undergo gender reassignment surgery in Sweden, the person must be over 18, a Swedish citizen, unmarried and have their reproductive material destroyed. Any sperm or eggs which have been deposited in fertility treatment centres must also be destroyed.

While Christian Democrats and the other centre-right parties agreed on removing the conditions regarding marital status and citizenship, they would not move their stance on compulsory sterilization.

Göran Hägglund, Minister of Health and Social Affairs and leader of the Christian Democrats called the decision a victory: ‘It’s important that we stand by the precautionary principle and don’t rush into legislation.’

In an appeal to all European member states Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, asks that they ‘abolish sterilisation and other compulsory medical treatment which may seriously impair the autonomy, health or well-being of the individual, as necessary requirements for the legal recognition of a transgender person’s preferred gender.’

Green Party MP Agneta Luttrop has also voiced her disappointment with the decision, calling the law ‘macabre’ and ‘not dignified’ while Lena Hallengre, deputy chair of the Riksdag social commity criticises the prime minister for not taking into account the ‘wide support in the Riksdah to scrap the requirement.’

Maria Sundin, member of the Transgender Europe (TGEU) board feels betrayed by this ‘shameful’ decision saying: ‘Prominent people in the government who we consider as allies in our struggle didn’t fight hard enough.’

Sundin continues: ‘[Being sterilized] is a decision which people need to make by themselves. It shouldn’t be forced on anybody. It’s their body, their gender, their choice.’

Liberals push for end to sex change sterilisation

Published: 3 Aug 11 16:15 

Barbro Westerholm of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) is set to take the initiative on the issue as soon as the Riksdag reconvenes for the autumn session.

“This can not wait any longer,” she said.

According to legislation passed in 1972, to undergo a sex change operation a person must be over 18-years-old, a Swedish citizen, be sterilized and unmarried.

Only the Christian Democrats and the Sweden Democrats are currently in favour of retaining the law.

At their party conference in July, the Christian Democrats rejected an earlier suggestion from the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) to remove the sterilization requirement.

“A sex-change means that you willingly subject yourself to treatment in order to change your gender, and if you do that it is also reasonable that you give up some gender-specific properties of your old sex,” Maria Larsson, minister for children and the elderly, said in a speech at the conference.

Westerholm explained that the Christian Democrat conference decision means that the government are unable to unite on the issue and instead opted to put the vote to parliament.

“The Christian Democrats have their decision and Göran Hägglund can therefore not take his own initiative in the ministry. Then the Riksdag has to do it,” she said.

“People must be allowed to live their lives as they wish as long as they do not harm anyone else,” she added.

Westerholm does not envisage that her move will create any problems for the Alliance coalition.

“The government has shown that it can stay together and then one should also show that some issues can be resolved by other means,” she said.

The government has previously been forced to find other parliamentary constellations in order to address matters relating to LGBT issues.

The reforms to marriage legislation in 2009 was achieved through motions in the Riksdag, as the Christian Democrats refused and the government could not find a compromise all could agree on.

The Registered Partnership Act of 1994 was also adopted directly by the parliament with the support of the opposition.

The issue of forced sterilization is a hot topic at this year’s Pride festival in Stockholm, where American Thomas Beatie who has given birth to three children held the opening speech.

A year ago, the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) suggested a removal of the sterilization requirement and that it should be possible for people to freeze their gametes.

Speaking at the Pride festival on Wednesday, Social Democrat leader Håkan Juholt gave his backing to Westerholm’s initiative.

Between 1934 and 1976, when there was a change in legislation, it is estimated that 63,000 mentally disabled people, epileptics and people with alleged social problems, were coerced to undergo sterilization in Sweden against their will, or pressured into agreeing to the operation in order to be allowed to marry or be released from mental institutions.

In 1999, Sweden agreed to compensate some of the victims of forced sterilization, offering each individual up to 175,000 kronor ($28,000).

Maria Larsson was however not amused by the comparison to the state imposed sterilizations in Sweden’s past.

“I feel slightly concerned when people compare this rule to the forced sterilizations from history - there is no comparison, let me be clear on that. This is about how someone willingly has chosen to change their sex,” Larsson said.