Involuntary Sterilization and Castration in Sweden and the Nordic Countries
Alaattinoglu, Daniela, European University, Florence. Title: Involuntary Sterilization and Castration in Sweden and the Nordic Countries.
Abstract: In 1934, the first sterilisation act was enacted in Sweden followed by the first castration act in 1944. In 1972, Sweden became the first country in the world to enact legislation for the amendment of legally registered sex, however preconditioned on sterilisation. In the implementation of all these laws, voluntary and involuntary interventions have been made with legislative support. In 1997, Swedish newspapers reported on the historical, massive, eugenic ‘sterilisation projects’ of the welfare state – creating international, scandalous headlines. In 1999, the first Swedish ex gratia legislation was established to provide compensation for the people who had been involuntarily sterilised in 1935–75. Put under pressure by rights mobilisation from civil society, the Swedish Government in 2018 presents the Parliament with a Bill to, once again, adopt ex gratia legislation. The legislation will regulate compensation to the trans people who have been sterilised based on the legislative sterilisation requirement for amendment of legal sex (1972–2013). The involuntarily castrated have still not received any reparations from the Swedish State. The seminar discusses the Swedish practices of involuntary sterilisation and castration against the background of an increasingly strong social and legal rights culture. Casting a light on two other Nordic countries with similar histories of sterilisation and castration – Norway and Finland – the seminar poses the questions of how and why Sweden has developed a modern ex gratia legislative tradition where involuntary sterilisations have taken a central place; when the same is not true for its neighbouring countries. Pointing at a set of important legal and extra-legal factors, the seminar seeks to explore how involuntary sterilisation and castration have – or have not – become legal and remedial questions in the 21st century.
More research seminars in Sociology of Law this spring: soclaw.lu.se/en/research/research-seminars-in-sociology-of-law