|www.helsinginsanomat.fi/english||print | close window|
Social Democrats approve initiative calling for change to law on transsexuals
Party congress and party executive differ on issue
The party congress of the Social Democratic Party, which convened last weekend, took a different stance on reforming legislation on gender reassignment than the party’s executive.
According to a resolution passed by the party congress, the SDP needs to act in such a way that “violations of the human rights of transgender people bring an immediate response”. The resolution also called for the removal from the law the present requirement that those undergoing sex change procedures should be sterile and unmarried.
The SDP executive does not see any need to change current legislation.
MP Antti Lindtman says that he was not opposed to the text of the initiative.
“The proposal of the party executive was to follow the international debate, while at the party congress there was a desire to go on record to call for a change in the law”, says Lindtman, who was named the party’s deputy chairman at the congress.
“I had heard that a decision had been made at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health on the launching of a study into the matter, but it has not yet been started. [Minister of Transport and Communications] Krista Kiuru and I made a proposal at the meeting for a compromise according to which the study should be launched immediately.
According to Lindtman, the point of view of the study would be equality and human rights for transgender people.
“I do not believe that very many in the SDP would differ on the matter itself. The question is only over how uncompromising the wording should be.”
The last time that transgender legislation was debated within the SDP was in January, when a special assistant to Minister of Social Services Maria Guzenina-Richardson (SDP) resigned.
The minister said that the reason for the resignation was that the aide had, without Guzenina-Richardson’s knowledge, promoted a change to the law on the sterilisation of people who have undergone sex change surgery.
Under the law, people who undergo the procedure are required to be sterilised so that they cannot have children.