The Netherlands has finally adopted legislation that will protect its transgender community by allowing trans people to change their identity on official government documents without gender-reassignment surgery and end the barbaric requirement of forced sterilization. The law was easily passed on Wednesday (51-24) and applies only to persons 16 or older. Boris Dittrich, the Dutch advocacy director of the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch, spoke to LGBTQ Nation and said: “The new law is a huge step forward for transgender people who do not wish to alter their body but would like to obtain new ID papers…The old law required them to undergo gender reassignment surgery and they and be irreversibly sterilized,” he said. “That these requirements have been deleted makes a big difference in the daily lives of transgender Dutch people who needed to identify themselves with IDs that did not match their preferred gender.”
Many countries in Western and Northern Europe still require forced sterilization including Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, and Finland.