The road to a sex reassignment can be very challenging. In many European countries including Switzerland, Greece, and 18 other Eastern European countries, the road to sexual reassignment includes sterilization. These countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine.
In the 1970s, Sweden became the first country to allow transgender people to legally change their sex. However, it enforced a strict sterilization policy for transgender people. They required this on the grounds that transgender people were mentally ill and unable to care for a child. Sterilization remained a requirement there until 2013. However, many other countries had already started requiring this before Sweden tackled the issue.
According to Amnesty International, the European Union is home to over 1.5 million transgender people. The processes involved in sexual reassignment surgery vary from country to country. Most of them require some combination of medical and legal interventions. Sterilization is one of the more controversial measures required by some countries. These measures provoke much criticism from the UN and many LGBT activists.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in April that forced sterilization violates the transgender people’s right to a private and family life. The court ruling binds France, and it suggests that the law in 20 countries violates the convention on human rights.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t force these countries to reform. It is likely to require several court cases to actually get all of these countries to stop this brutal practice. In some countries, gender is becoming less important. The Dutch Parliament is considering whether or not to use gender in official documents at all.
The ruling also still allows countries to make transgender people undergo medical and psychological examinations to change their name and gender. Many human rights activists argue that this is cruel and unnecessary.
Featured image via Twitter.