Let people decide what gender they want to express…

Forced sterilization is a prerequisite to getting one’s gender legally changed in some countries. This poses a huge problem. What ever happened to freedom of expression? If a transgender person wants his/her country to legally recognize the gender they desire to express, without getting a medical procedure, why should the government say other wise?  According to a Human Rights Watch article, Sweden is one of those countries (and so is the Netherlands).  Currently, in Sweden, a transgender person cannot legally change his/her gender without undergoing a medical procedure, and producing a document that proves they cannot procreate.  This is a huge human rights violation in so many regards.  First off, those who want to procreate- transgender, or not- should have the right to do so.  What if the transgendered individual does not want to have the medical procedure done because he/she hopes that one day he/she can start a family? Who has the right to say that is not possible if you wish to be legally recognized as your preferred gender?  No one.  Second, what does a legal procedure have to do with a medical one?  Last time I checked, those two are not linked. Third, is the government trying to add difficulties to an already tough experience? It should be the governments obligation to help its citizens in this process.  Many transgendered individuals face ridicule from their family, friends and strangers because they cannot understand what the transgendered individual is experiencing/thinking. Why should the government add to this? By simply legally changing their gender on passports, drivers licenses etc. the government would ease the perplex look many people get when they see a transgender person (which is another issue I have a problem with, but that is for a different time).  The government would be saving a transgender individual from awkward looks and questions when a person has to ask why their drivers license/ passport etc says that he/she is a man/woman but they look like the opposite gender.

People need to accept transgender individuals for who they are: humans, and not make it a difficult process for them to be identified as who they are.

Being transgendered is a normal aspect of life, and they should have the same amount of respect because at the end of the day, they are no different than you or I.


About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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