Dutch government apologizes for sterilizing trans people — Analysis

Dutch officials have apologized for an old law that required transgender persons to be sterilized in order to legally alter their gender. The law was valid until 2014. Similar laws in Europe are also still in place.

“Nobody should have experienced what you went through. I am truly sorry that it happened,”Ingrid van Engelshoven, minister for education, culture, and science, said at The Hague, on Saturday. “Standards about what a body should look like do not belong in a law and a law should never force people to undergo an operation,”Elle added. “And today I make our deeply sincere apologies for this on behalf of the full Cabinet.”

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From 1985 to 2014, citizens in the Netherlands were able legally to alter their gender provided that they underwent genital and sterilization. Human Rights Watch and LGBT activists pressed for the repeal of this law, which was described as “a joke” by Human Rights Watch. “needlessly traumatizing.” 

Now, a psychological evaluation is all that is required to legally change one’s gender in the Netherlands.

According to AP, 420 individuals claim they were victims of the law. Transgender Network Nederland advocates a lower amount of compensation than the 5,000 Euro ($5,650) offered.

In 2017, the European Court of Human rights prohibited such sterilization laws. However, they were still being enforced in 22 of the 47 European Convention-member countries. 

The court’s ruling did not mandate that these states change their laws, but established a legal precedent for court cases on the matter at national level. The 2017 ruling still applies to Czechia and the Czech Republic, Finland, Latvia, Slovakia, as well as nine other countries.

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