The Pirate Party believes that bodily autonomy, especially regarding gender and sex-related aspects, is one of the most fundamental rights, and we therefore think that restrictions on this right must be reserved for cases where there are special reasons that speak against the individual’s capacity to give informed consent.
Overview – The Pirate Party wants to
- All interventions in reproductive, sexual and trans medicine are decided by the individual in consultation with his doctor.
- All fixed age limits in reproductive, sexual and trans medicine are abolished; Maturity assessments must be made on an individual basis for minors.
- The informed consent model is introduced in trans care
- Legal recognition of poly relationships is enabled
- Sex work is decriminalized
- The VAT on menstrual protection is abolished
- Surrogacy is allowed more generally, where the child’s right to his biological parents is strengthened.
Introduction – Bodily autonomy
The Swedish state has a long history of restrictions on the right to bodily autonomy, everything from forced sterilization of “asocial” to involuntary medical experiments on intellectually disabled people have occurred not only on Swedish soil but under Swedish auspices. Although we have put some of these phenomena behind us, the same cannot be said for the guardian state attitude that still characterizes the actions of authorities today. The fact is that restrictions on bodily integrity still occur, although perhaps less than what occurred earlier in history. Many of today’s restrictions are linked to the individual’s gender and sexuality, which makes them particularly serious.
The Pirate Party believes that bodily autonomy, especially regarding gender and sex-related aspects, is one of the most fundamental rights, and we therefore think that restrictions on this right must be reserved for cases where there are special reasons that speak against the individual’s capacity to give informed consent. We think that, as a rule, decisions about both contraception and sterilization as well as gender-affirming treatment should be up to the individual. Doctors must contribute with medical information and advice, but should only be decision makers in exceptional cases. We also oppose statutory age limits in reproductive, sexual and trans medicine as we think that even minors are entitled to have their case tried, and that healthcare and social services are better suited to make a risk and maturity assessment than bureaucrats and jurors.
1. The right to define one’s own identity
Accurate personal data that does not expose one to humiliation or danger is something that most people take for granted, but the fact is that this is a luxury not afforded to people who do not meet all the criteria on one of the two sets of gender characteristics that we refer to as “man ” and “woman”. For trans people who have not yet received permission to change their legal gender, situations where identity verification can occur often mean anxiety and humiliation, something that, in addition to causing suffering, limits participation in society. It also creates problems unique to non-binary people, who are forced to lie about their gender identity in order to get permission to change their legal sex, and even then only have a choice between two gender markers, neither of which are quite right. Due to the dependence of the social security number on the legal gender, a change to this also means that trans people in principle need to be given a new identity, which means a lot of paperwork for both the individual and the authorities.
The legal gender has no purpose. In sex-disaggregated statistics, the gender one perceives as refusing should weigh more heavily than both gender identity and genitalia, and since transgender people who have undergone treatment have a mixed set of gender characteristics, no medically useful information can be derived from the legal gender in care.
The Pirate Party is skeptical of involuntary collection and publication of personal data in general, but is extra critical when it comes to privacy-sensitive personal data such as gender.
Therefore, we want to:
§1 Legal gender is eventually abolished, and until then we want to;
§2 Social security numbers are made gender neutral
§3 Change of legal gender is made an administrative process without the requirement of a diagnosis, gender identity investigation, medical procedures or medical certificate.
§4 The age limit for changing legal gender is abolished
§5 Legal gender is considered sensitive personal data
2. Ethical and evidence-based trans care
Gender-affirming care is a prime example of contemporary situations where bodily autonomy is not respected. In order to be allowed to undergo gender-affirming surgery, not only is an investigation of the patient’s capacity to give informed consent required, but also an in-depth psychological investigation, personality diagnosis, psychosocial evaluation, diagnosis of transsexualism F64.0, and a permit from the National Board of Health and Welfare’s legal council which in practice is only given after the council is allowed to see a comprehensive documentation of the patient’s medical history.
The gender dysphoria investigations in Sweden are a relic from a bygone era and serve no purpose beyond preventing people with gender dysphoria from transitioning, something that according to IESOGI falls under conversion therapy and thus constitutes a violation of human rights. These investigations are often perceived as humiliating, provocative and invasive, and often contain specific questions about, among other things, the individual’s sex life and other unrelated information, which means that the time from referral to treatment takes many years. This not only creates enormous stress for the patient, but also places a considerable burden on the healthcare system.
With the exception of approval from the National Board of Health and Welfare, and the fact that some care providers also accept the diagnoses F64.9 and F64.8, the same requirements apply to sex-affirming hormone treatment. Even puberty delay treatment, which is considered an important part in the diagnosis of gender dysphoria, is only prescribed in Sweden to people with at least a preliminary diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
While the bodies of transsexuals are strictly controlled, the same or similar procedures are carried out on infants with intersex conditions, without the requirement of medical indication. The Pirate Party believes that this is completely unreasonable and that it is an example of when social norms and prejudices are allowed to write medical policy.
It is of the utmost importance that all people, regardless of their gender identity or possible trans experience, feel comfortable in their own bodies. Absence of gender dysphoria is a prerequisite for a reasonable standard of living, and the complications of untreated gender dysphoria should not be underestimated. Against this background, it is clear that ethical trans care is trans care based on the right to self-determination, a so-called informed consent model.
As with any medical procedure, there will inevitably be cases where people make the wrong decision. These people must of course receive the same support in their detransition as people who undergo a transition, and they must have the right to correct any unwanted body attributes on the same terms as the people who have not previously undergone a transition. A gender dysphoria that arose because of human-caused gender characteristics is neither more nor less serious than a gender dysphoria that arose because of gender characteristics that were caused by the body’s own processes. When trans care is not based on the right to self-determination but instead is conducted according to a so-called gatekeeping model, there are no conditions for a transparent and honest conversation about thoughts and doubts about gender identity and the various treatments. When the investigator has the opportunity to determine whether you are receiving the care you need, the investigation becomes less of a dialogue and more of an interrogation. Only when the patient regains power over his own body can the real goal of the investigation, to prevent regret, be fulfilled.
Therefore, we want to:
§6 The gatekeeping model within gender-affirming care is discontinued and replaced with an “informed consent” model;
§7 Interventions in the genital organs of infants, including sex-normalizing interventions of intersex infants, are only permitted when there is an urgent medical indication;
§8 The gender-affirming care is conducted in accordance with the Endocrine Society’s guidelines.
3. Free relationship formation
We believe that everyone should be free to form the family constellations they wish, whether this means a same-sex couple, a nuclear family or a poly relationship. All people must have the right to decide on their own who or whom they form a relationship with, and the state’s interference in romantic and sexual relationships must be limited to when consent is absent or invalid.
For us, it is important that people who live in a love relationship consisting of more than two people are given the same right to have their relationship legally recognized as people who live together. Plural relationships, like monogamous ones, must be based on voluntary and mutual consent, and we therefore oppose polygamous marriages entered into in countries where this is not the case.
We also want to see a reform of the parental code to make it gender neutral, as well as the introduction of the possibility of having more than two guardians. The possibility for a child to have more than two guardians is an important issue for the children who live in families where there are more than two people in the parental role. Even in cases where a child spends a lot of time with a family member who is not their parent, for example a grandparent, there can be value in that person also being allowed to become the child’s guardian. Like all other legislation regarding the custody of children, decisions about more than two guardians must be based on the child’s best interests. This means, in the vast majority of cases, that custody should initially be shared by the two biological parents, unless otherwise agreed upon.
Therefore, we want to:
§9 The Marriage Code is made number neutral;
§10 The Parental Code is made gender-neutral and based on joint custody (instead of individual custody as today) when both parents can be determined;
§11 The possibility to have more than two guardians after judgment or agreement is introduced.
The gender equality discussion in Sweden is all too often characterized by identity politics and a lack of intersectionality. The focus is more often on things like the percentage of women in managerial positions than on fighting the labor market discrimination that lies behind the skewed gender distribution. An equal society is not achieved by gender quotas or porn filters. An equal society is achieved by combating gender-based discrimination and sexist structures. The Pirate Party calls for an intersectional equality policy that focuses on the problems and not the symptoms.
Therefore, we want to:
§12 The VAT on menstrual protection is abolished;
§13 The availability of sheltered accommodation for men and transgender people increases;
§14 Education about other forms of violence in close relationships than male perpetrator against female victim is increasing.
5. A value-neutral attitude towards sex work
Sex workers have long testified to the problems with the criminalization of sex work, and calls for decriminalization have been issued not only by organizations representing sex workers, but also by the WHO, UNAIDS, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
Despite the fact that the Nordic model is marketed as an alternative that only criminalizes the purchase of sexual services, it is ultimately the person who sells sex who receives the harshest punishment. People who work in sex-related occupations today risk being evicted from their homes, losing custody of their children, being deported and denied access to the common welfare, simply because they are sex workers. The price of the Nordic model is very expensive, it has caused extensive suffering and claimed lives.
The Pirate Party is convinced that people are generally capable of deciding for themselves with whom they have sex and under what circumstances. We see no reason to believe that sex workers would be less capable of this than anyone else.
Sex work, when done of free will, is work. Although the media likes to paint a picture of sex buyers as ethically reprehensible men who feel entitled to other people’s bodies, there are many reasons for a person to seek sexual services, many of which are legitimate and without malice. These may be people who, due to mobility impairments, lack the ability for sexual self-stimulation, people in need of a surrogate partner to be able to undergo sex therapy, or simply single people who seek sexual intimacy but do not consider themselves entitled to it.
Sex workers can give these people the tools to regain control over their own sexuality, and sex work can therefore be seen as a socially useful profession. There is thus no reason to deny sex workers access to the benefits that the welfare state brings, something that happens today because sex workers do not get the same right to parental leave, sick pay and pension as workers in other professions. Nor are sex workers protected by the laws and regulations that exist around working conditions, job security and the like, which puts them in an even more vulnerable position. The Pirate Party opposes this, and instead wants sex work to be recognized as work whose professionals are given the same right to participate in welfare as everyone else.
At the same time, sex work is of such a nature that they must be exempt from some of the regulations that exist around work. For example, the Employment Service must not be able to request that a person look for work in the sex industry, and the insurance fund must exclude sex work in assessments of impaired work ability. Sexual services shall also not be affected by the prohibition against discrimination in the sale of services, as one must always be able to refrain from sexual acts, regardless of the reason or lack thereof, and regardless of whether a transaction is involved. The requirement for informed and voluntary consent to sex will never be negotiable.
Therefore, we want to:
§15 Purchase of sexual services from persons over 18 who have given their informed and voluntary consent is decriminalized;
§16 The Coupling Act is reformed so that it only criminalizes persons who exploit sex workers, and does not prohibit acts whose purpose is to facilitate, secure or benefit the sex workers;
§17 Sex work is covered by the same legislation regarding working conditions, job security and welfare as other work;
§18 Sex workers are fully involved in decisions related to sex work.
Today, the discrimination grounds “gender”, “sexual orientation” and “transgender identity and expression” are covered by the Discrimination Act, but this is not sufficient to counter gender- and sexuality-based discrimination.
For one thing, these grounds are not comprehensive enough. Sexual orientation only covers the part of sexuality that concerns which gender or which gender one is sexually attracted to, and it is thus still possible to discriminate against people based on the types of intercourse they have, whether they take an active or passive role, and whether they live a polyamorous or monogamous lifestyle. The term sexual orientation also does not include those people who have sex with people of the same sex but still identify as heterosexual, which is more common than you might think. We therefore believe that the basis of discrimination, sexual orientation, should be replaced by something that includes sexual identity as well as all romantic and sexual practices and preferences that occur between consenting adults. An advantage of the inclusion of sexual practice is also that this provides protection against discrimination to people who have sex for compensation, and thus prohibits discrimination against sex workers.
The concept of cross-gender identity and expression is also very problematic, partly because it implies that gender identity is completely separated from the concept of gender, and partly because this omits the senior citizens. We believe that instead of talking about gender identity, you should talk about trans experience as a basis for discrimination.
Finally, it is also important that the prohibition against discrimination that the law implies is actually realized in practice, something that does not happen in many areas today. We therefore think that discrimination carried out within publicly funded activities should be considered particularly serious, and that media holding public service status should be charged with a special responsibility not to promote discriminatory behavior and rhetoric.
Therefore, we want to:
§19 Conversion therapy is criminalized;
§20 The discrimination ground sexual orientation is extended to sexuality and includes, in addition to sexual identity, all romantic and sexual practices and preferences that occur between consenting adults;
§21 The discrimination ground “transgender identity and expression” is replaced by “trans experience and gender expression”.
7. Reproductive health and rights
The right to abortion in Sweden is not under threat today, but risks becoming so in the future, as there are certain shortcomings in the current abortion legislation that could be used by governments, authorities or other institutions to limit the right to abortion. Today, free abortion is available up to week 18, after which permission is required from the National Board of Health and Welfare’s legal council, a permission which according to the abortion law may only be given if the fetus cannot be assumed to be viable.
The limit for when a fetus can be viable has since the introduction of the abortion law in 1975 dropped from between about 24-28 weeks to 22 weeks, this as progress in neonatal medicine has made it possible to save more prenatally born children earlier. In line with medical development, the limit of viability will continue to be moved earlier and earlier, and this also risks bringing about an earlier advance of the abortion limit. That the concept of viability be removed from the abortion law is particularly urgent as it is likely only a matter of time before children raised in artificial wombs become a reality, in which case viability can be said to arise already at conception.
While pregnancy is a natural and vital part of our species’ survival, it is also a medical condition that carries many risks both during the pregnancy and the time after the child is born. As a party that advocates innovation and development, the Pirate Party is positive about research in reproductive medicine and the development of reproductive technology aids that can assist or replace pregnancy. Today, when 96 percent of all abortions are carried out by a medical method without medical intervention, there is no longer any reason to visit a clinic to begin the abortion. The pirate party believes that home abortions should be allowed where midwives are given the right to prescribe abortion drugs that can be picked up at pharmacies.
Therefore, we want to:
§22 The right to abortion is no longer conditional on the fetus not being viable;
§23 The ban on home abortions is lifted;
§24 The possibility of self-tests for HPV is introduced;
§25 A system of regular invitations to STI sampling is introduced;
§26 Access to PrEP is made equal across the country;