Sweden and Pride

In celebration of Sweden’s Pride Month, let’s dive into all things LGBTQIA+.

While Pride celebrations have been in full swing in the US since July, Sweden doesn’t celebrate until August. So I thought this is the perfect time to dive into all things concerning gay rights in Sweden.

While still not perfect, Sweden is working to set the standard for inclusive and equitable laws. And they are doing a pretty good job, so far. According to the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe), which ranks countries in Europe based on their legislation in an annual review called Rainbow Europe, Sweden was ranked 7 of 49.

Some notable milestones that have helped Sweden have such a high ranking include:

  • Sweden was the first country to legally allow a gender change (1972)
  • Homosexuals are included and protected under the cohabitation law (1988)
  • While “homosexual relations” (I hate terms like these) are still outlawed in approximately 80 countries and territories around the world, they have been legal in Sweden since 1944.
  • There are adoption rights for same-sex couples (2003) and insemination rights for lesbian couples (2005).
  • In 2011, the Swedish constitution was amended to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

But, of course, Sweden is still far from perfect. One area where Sweden has some room for improvement is transgender rights. While Sweden should be proud it was the first country to allow for the legal change of gender identity in 1972, the initial law also required mandatory sterilization, which wasn’t removed from the law until 2013.

But for now, let’s take this time to celebrate Sweden’s support of human rights! Happy Pride!

Curious to know some other notable dates in Sweden’s gay rights history?

1979 The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) decides homosexuality is no longer a mental disorder

1987 Ban on discrimination against homosexuals by businesses and government officials takes effect

1995 The Registered Partnership Act (domestic partnership law) passed

2003 Constitutional change to outlaw hate speech based on sexual orientation

2009 Transgender identity and expressions included in anti-discrimination act

2011 Prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation is added to the Swedish constitution

2019 Stronger legal protection against hate crimes for trans people through inclusion in the Freedom of the Press Act, one of Sweden’s fundamental laws

Fun Facts:

  • Stockholm Pride usually attracts around 45,000 participants and 400,000 spectators.
  • In Sweden, if anyone feels they have been discriminated against, they can turn to the Equality Ombudsman, a government agency that fights discrimination.
  • Since gender-neutral marriage laws came in effect in 2009, the Church of Sweden has permitted same-sex ceremonies. And while individual priests have the right to withstand, it then becomes up to the parish to find someone who will perform the ceremony.
  • One can also join a Rainbow Mass at the Church of Sweden.
  • joint study by the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention and researchers from Stockholm University found that suicide rates among LGBTQIA+ people in relationships have dropped significantly in both Denmark and Sweden.
  • While Sweden was ranked 7 by Rainbow Europe, Malta came in at first place!

Tess’ Tips:

  • If you are in Sweden or Denmark and are interested in celebrating Pride, Malmö Pride will be co-hosting World Pride 2021 together with Happy Copenhagen between the 12–22 of August! Find all of the details here.
  • Looking for other Pride events near you? Find a list here or check the official site for Stockholm Pride.

Hope you learned some new Swedishness today and I’ll see you in the next post!

Sources

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