Over the course of the week, OP will be sharing “Man on the Street” interviews with five different trans guys who live in or around Stockholm, Sweden. Interviews were conducted over Stockholm Pride and shed light on the experiences of trans men who are living in a country where surgeries are “free” but where issues still arise.
Identity: Trans, it’s shifting.
If you are not from Stockholm, do you see a difference between Stockholm and your hometown in regards to queer or trans acceptance?
I’m from outside of Stockholm, and it depends if you’re from a suburb, but it’s still easy to be accepted.
Do you feel equally represented in the queer community in Stockholm as a trans person?
I feel like it’s more and more trans people. In the queer community, yes, but not in the gay community.
Do you feel that it is easy to be accepted culturally as a trans person in Sweden?
I guess I’m mostly around in the gay community, and I feel like people are starting to get it, but it feels like it’s still kind of new. People don’t know that much, but still they are like, “Oh, I saw this documentary once…” I don’t feel like I’ve been exposed to transphobia that much, but it’s also that people are saying “I really accept you being trans,” and you’re like, yeah, this is the gay community fifty years ago. But also it’s easy for me to get around because I’m passing so well, and it’s a totally different thing when you’re not passing so well. I feel like trans issues have a long way to go.
Are you happy with the medical and/or psychological system in Sweden for trans people?
I’m happy that it’s free! Kind of free, at least. There are lots of good things, the hormones and top surgery is really good, I have no complains with that. Once you get through the first year, you can really be on your own, or at least I haven’t been to that many appointments since I got my top surgery. It’s like, no, we don’t have to talk anymore. Yeah, it’s straight people judging you, and it’s always weird. But I feel like that part is kind of okay, but the sterilization thing is fucked up. And people trying to convince you to do it when you see the doctor, “Oh, let’s talk about your sterilization surgery.” I was like, “No, let’s not talk about that because I’m not gonna do it.” They’re always counting on you to be fitting in these like stereotypical transsexual boxes- this is what you want, this is what you’re supposed to do, and I feel that’s a part that’s totally fucked up. And the law has to be changed. And the age limit is also stupid, which is 18. You can do some things, I think I got hormones before 18, but you can’t do surgery. You really have to be a convincing transsexual. Things have to change because they’re really following this thing like, yes, you want to be sterilized. It depends on what you compare it to also, it’s much better than so many other places, but it still has issues.
Is there anything you’d like to see change socially or politically regarding trans issues in Sweden?
Yeah, I’d like to see that stupid law get changed. That would be nice. I’d really like to see also the medical stuff change. Being treated as a person that really can decide over your own body and not having someone tell you what the right thing to do is and what you’re supposed to do. You know? We’re all grown ups, or whatever if you’re grown up or not, I think you should still be treated as if you know what’s best for you. Also, I don’t think the treatment should only be for transsexual people, because now you really have to fit into this box, otherwise you’re on your own. Socially, I feel like people have to be more educated. I find it kind of weird that not everyone has met a trans person in their life! I’m in this bubble you know, and “Oh, you’re the only trans person I’ve ever met, let me ask all of my questions!”