In the autumn of 2018, the Social Democrat-led government, under pressure from the gay, lesbian and transgender group RFSL, proposed a new law which would reduce the minimum age for sex reassignment medical care from 18 to 15, remove all need for parental consent, and allow children as young as 12 to change their legal gender.
Then in March last year, the backlash started. Christopher Gillberg, a psychiatrist at Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy, wrote an article in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper warning that hormone treatment and surgery on children was “a big experiment” which risked becoming one of the country’s worst medical scandals.
One of the most surprising changes has been the growing divisions between trans activists. While Romson warns that children will have even more anxiety because of the change in the debate, Aleksa Lundberg, a trans woman and longstanding activist, is backing the call for more research.
Last October she apologised for not having been sufficiently open about the depression she had felt after her operation. “I would probably not undergo corrective surgery if I had the same choice today,” she wrote. “And I want to apologise to those who perhaps needed to hear that story earlier.”