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Gender re-assignment bill reaches commenting round

Finland’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health wants to eliminate clauses in current draft legislation which would force gender re-assignment candidates to undergo compulsory sterilisation, prove their infertility and dissolve existing marriages. The draft bill may not be approved in time for the next election since changes were not discussed during government formation talks during the spring.

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Image: YLE / Arja Lento

Government’s proposed legislation on gender reassignment has reached the commenting stage, with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health sending the bill out for expert review.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has said it opposes clauses in the bill that make sterilisation or proof of infertility a prerequisite for gender re-assignment procedures.

It would also expunge a requirement that gender re-assignment candidates should either be unmarried or should dissolve existing marriages.

An alternative could be that married individuals who have undergone gender re-assignment therapy would have to apply to their local registry offices to preserve their unions. In such cases the registrar would have to approve their applications without any further deliberation.

In June Health and Social Services Minister Susanna Huovinen said that amendments would focus on those aspects of the bill that came under greatest fire from the human rights perspective.

Amendments to the trans law will need to be finalised by the end of the year if the bill is to come before the sitting Parliament.

The new government does not have modifications to the trans law written into its agenda. This means that the progress of the bill depends on whether or not the diverse five-party government coalition can find common ground on the matter.

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