The passing of legislation in Finland that abolishes the requirements for trans people to endure invasive medical and psychiatric procedures before they can have their gender recognised is a major victory for equality, says Amnesty International.
The new law – passed on 1 February by Finland’s Parliament with 113 votes in favour and 69 against – removes the requirement for trans people to be sterilised and obtain a psychiatric diagnosis for them to obtain legal gender recognition.
“By passing this act, Finland has taken a major step towards protecting trans people’s rights and improving their lives and right to self-determination,” said Matti Pihlajamaa, Amnesty International Finland’s LGBTI Rights Advisor.
“The vote comes as a result of more than a decade of campaigning by civil society groups and is a testament to the commitment of activists who have fought long and hard – often in the face of toxic rhetoric – to see this day.”
Under Finland’s current legislation, which is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, an individual must provide proof of infertility before they can be granted legal gender recognition.
Under the new law, recognition will be available for adults upon written application after a mandatory 30-day ‘period of reflection’.
Despite this significant advancement, however, the new act only introduces a legal gender recognition system for adults.
“While this new law will have a huge and positive impact and provide an important pillar for non-discrimination, more must still be done,” said Matti Pihlajamaa.
“Excluding children from legal gender recognition violates the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We will continue to call on the government to amend the legislation accordingly to ensure it advances the rights of children,” added Pihlajamaa.