Representatives of the Swedish feminist women’s movement’s umbrella organization point out that gender dysphoria among young girls has skyrocketed in recent years – although no one knows why, and it is highly unclear whether girls really feel better by changing their legal gender.
It is also argued that biological women become insecure and vulnerable if biological men who identify as women gain access to their changing rooms, toilets and other gendered spaces.
Susannah Sjöberg and Clara Berglund, President and Secretary General of the Swedish Women’s Organizations, write in a debate article in Göteborgsposten that gender equality is threatened if an individual’s legal gender is based on self-perception rather than biological sex.
“What is the impact on young people who question their gender identity? In the last ten years, the number of young people with gender dysphoria has increased by 1500 percent. Most of them are biological girls and there is an over-representation of autism, ADHD and anorexia in this group. No one knows why this increase is happening, what kind of care they need or whether they are helped by simply being able to change their legal gender“, they say.
The debaters point out that the Swedish government is currently working on amending the Gender Identity Act, where the individual’s identification and decision-making is expected to be given even greater importance than today when changing legal gender – despite the fact that the changes have not been analyzed from a gender equality perspective.
“How is gender-segregated sport affected? Women’s and men’s classes are a prerequisite for sport on equal terms, allowing women to compete against each other, set records, win medals and be recognized for their sporting achievements. If the proposals go ahead, women could be forced to compete against biological males. There are several international examples of people who have changed their legal gender to female and then outperformed women in physically demanding sports“, they add.
They also point to changing rooms and gender-segregated spaces in the public sphere, as well as gender-segregated prisons and detention centers, and argue that men who have changed their legal gender gain access to changing rooms, shelters and toilets where women are present – leading to increased insecurity for biological women.
“In January 2021, the state of California passed a law requiring placement in male and female prisons based on self-perceived gender identity. Four months later, 255 inmates had requested a transfer to a women’s prison“, they say.
They also questioned how gender-based statistics will be affected if self-identification becomes the decisive factor for legal gender identity. It will be impossible to produce clear gender-based statistics if gender is not “defined in a way that is consistent with the general understanding of law and jurisprudence“.
“How can important information on biological gender be collected through register statistics if legal gender is judicially the same as perceived gender identity?“, they ask.
Finally, they worry about how the Swedish gender equality work in general will be affected by a change in the view of legal gender and argue that feminist ideology is not compatible with the view of gender identity as something self-chosen.
“The view of gender as a self-perceived identity clashes with the feminist project, which is about liberating gender roles from gender“, they declare.