Limited information only available for these topics

Access to Children
Adoption of Children
Age of Consent
Artifical Insemination
Assisted Reproduction
Asylum, Refugees
  Civil Unions
Custody of Children
Fostering Children
Gender Identity
Hate Crimes, Hate Speech
  Health, Medical
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Transgender, Transsexual
Wrongful Death

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Age of ConsentLegislation/Cases/References


In 1972, consensual sex between same-sex couples was equalised and became lawful at age fifteen (15) [R1.1].

R1.1 [citation required].
Assisted Reproduction Technology
Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilisation, Surrogacy
See also: [PARENTING]


In March 2005, the law was amended to permit fertilisation treatment for lesbian couples, from 01 July [R1.3], [R1.2].

Single women, regardless of sexual orientation, are not eligible for artificial insemination [R1.2].


In-vitro fertilization is restricted to heterosexuals [R1.1].


Courts & Tribunals

On January 2003, a Swedish sperm donor reportedly appealed to the country's supreme court, the Hoegsta Domstolen, to overturn an order to pay support for children conceived with his seed [R2.1].

The man donated his sperm to a lesbian, who used it to have three children.

R1.3 BBC News Online: Sweden to Allow IVF for Lesbians 03 MAR 05
R1.2 Radio Sweden: Insemination rules draw fire 03 AUG 11
R1.1 Los Angeles Times: Sweden Seeks to Bolster Gay Couples' Right to Adopt 24 FEB 02
R2.1 Agence France-Presse: Swedish Sperm Donor Fights Order to Pay Child Support 11 JAN 03
Herald Sun: Donor is Legal Dad 02 FEB 02
Reuters: Swedish Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support 09 DEC 01
Asylum, Immigration, Refugees Legislation/Cases/References

Asylum / Refugees

In July 2008, the Swedish Migration Board decided that people who lived openly as gay or lesbian in Iran should be granted asylum [R1.4].

In August 2005, Sweden lawmakers were reviewing the country's asylum policy for gays after two teenagers were executed in Iran on charges of involvement in violent homosexual acts [R1.3].

In 1997, by unanimous vote, Sweden's Parliament categorised gays as a group of people sometimes needing asylum under the provisions of the Aliens Act [R1.2].

An addition to the list of provisions enshrined in the 1951 UN Convention that entitles a person to apply for refugee status, "sexual orientation" owes its inclusion to a growing understanding in a handful of countries that lesbians and gays constitute a distinct social group. This article has been invoked to grant asylum to lesbians and gay men in Sweden [R1.1].


Courts & Tribunals

On 28 February 2013, the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) granted Lawrence Kaala Swedish residency, reversing a previous order to leave the country after his application for asylum was denied. Kaala married Jimmy Sserwadda late January. In granting Kaala's permit, the Migration Board waived the usual requirement that resident permit applications based on marriage be filed from the person's home country [R2.4].

In June 1999, the Aliens Appeals Board (Utlänningsnämnden) decided to expel a gay Iranian man from Sweden back to Iran [R2.3].

In August 1996, the Alien Appeal Board reportedly took the view that despite official and theoretical condemnation of homosexual and lesbian practices, the actual situation in Iran is that gays are "not actively persecuted" despite the Iranian Penal Code stating that both lesbians and gays should be put to death [R2.2].

In June 1996, two Iranian lesbians have had their asylum applications rejected by the Alien Appeals Board [R2.1].

R1.4 The Advocate: Sweden Allows Gay Iranian Asylum Seekers02 JUL 08
R1.3 Sweden to Review Gay Asylum Policy After Iranian Teens Executed for Raping Minors 05 AUG 05
R1.2 Capital Q: Sweden Offers Gay Asylum 10 JAN 97
R1.1 Beirut Daily Star: For Some Young Lebanese Staying Means 'Life Will be Over' 12 OCT 01
R2.4 The Local: Gay Ugandan couple to remain in Sweden 01 MAR 13
R2.3 RFSL Webmagazin Homoplaneten: Gay Iranian Man to be Expelled from Sweden 17 JUN 99
R2.2 Brother Sister: Iranian Executions Never Happened 22 AUG 96
R2.1 Brother Sister: Asylum Rejected 26 JUN 96
Civil Unions, Partners: Domestic, Registered Legislation/Cases/References


Since 1995, "Registered partnerships" have been lawful in Sweden [R1.6]. Gay couples have the same legal rights as married heterosexuals [R1.5].

In March 2003, Sweden wanted its embassies around the world to "marry" gay couples [R1.5].

In June 2006, of the same-sex couples registered under Sweden's partnership law, 30 per cent of lesbians and 20 per cent of gay-male couples have split after five years compared to 13 per cent of married heterosexuals [R1.4].

in March 2003, the Foreign Minister announced that Sweden wants its embassies around the world to marry gay couples "Once we have established that a country accepts partnership registration" [R1.3].

In March 1999, the Justice Ministry announced that Sweden was planning to allow foreign homosexual couples to register their partnerships in Sweden, giving them the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples. With prior Parliamentary approval, the amendment was mooted to take effect March 1, 2000 [R1.2].

In October 1996, a lesbian has won the right to paternity leave following an appeal to a decision of the national social insurance office [R1.1].



In 2005, the Church of Sweden, a Lutheran denomination, approved special blessing ceremonies for such unions, although it does not recognize them as weddings [R2.1].

R1.6 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia MAY 08
R1.5 Reuters: Sweden to Allow Its Embassies to Wed Gay Couples 07 MAR 03
R1.4 MCV: Divorce Soars 15 JUN 06
R1.3 Reuters: Sweden to Allow Its Embassies to Wed Gay Couples 07 MAR 03
R1.2 Reuters: Sweden Allows "Gay Marriage'' for Foreigners 16 MAR 00
Reuters: Sweden May Allow Foreign Gay Couples to Register 19 MAR 99
R1.1 Brother Sister: Rights for Swedish Couples 31 OCT 96
R2.1 MCV: Swedish Church Approves Gay Marriage 22 MAR 07
The Advocate: Russian Orthodox Church breaks with Church of Sweden over same-sex unions 29 DEC 05
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References


On 22 April 2013, a new gender-neutral pronoun “hen”, that allows speakers and writers to refer to a person without including reference to a person's gender, was reported to have been added to the country's National Encyclopedia [R1.4].

In 2003, the Constitutional was amended prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation [R1.3].


In 1999, discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation was made unlawful [R1.3].

On 01 December 2009, the National Board of Health and Welfare confirmed that from 01 March 2010, Sweden would allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood so long as they have not had sex with a man in the last 12 months [R1.2].

In 1999, the Swedish Government in an extraordinary meeting, appointed Hans Ytterberg Ombudsman against Discrimination on the Ground of Sexual Orientation (Swedish abbreviation HomO). Hans Ytterberg becomes the first HomO in the world. The new authority takes up its duties on 1 May 1999 [R1.1].


Courts & Tribunals

In July 2010, Sara Evaldsson, 29, and Maria Engström reported a Swedbank clerk to the Discrimination Ombudsman after being told by her when they applied for a mortgage together that they should reconsider their relationship and live apart [R2.3].

In October 2008, Sweden's Court of Appeal rejected a kennel owner's request to appeal a sexual orientation discrimination case he lost after he refused to sell a dog to a customer because she was in a lesbian relationship [R2.2].

In 2002, in an out of court settlement a Swedish company agreed to pay a former employee damages after she accused her boss of homophobia for calling her kiss with her girlfriend "disgusting" [R2.1].

The case was the first ever in Sweden's labour court concerning discrimination over sexual orientation in the workplace.

R1.4 ILGA: Sweden Adopts a Gender-Neutral Pronoun 22 APR 13
R1.3 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 08
R1.2 Sweden to lift lifetime blood donation ban for gay men 01 DEC 09
R1.1 Swedish Federation for Lesbian and Gay Rights (RFSL): Sweden Appoints Gay Ombudsman 26 MAR 99
R2.3 PinkNews: Lesbian couple told by Swedish bank to 'live apart' 26 JUL 10
R2.2 Court Backs Swedish Lesbian's Right to Puppies 24 OCT 08
R2.1 Agence France-Presse: Lesbian Kiss Comment Costs Firm 03 JUL 02

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Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual



On 24 March 2017, the Swedish government announced it would compensate trans people who were forcibly sterilized in the country with $26,000 [R1.6].

On 27 January 2017, the National Board of Health and Welfare, or Socialstyrelsen, reportedly announced that it would no longer automatically apply the diagnosis ''gender dysphoria'' to transgender patients [R1.5].

On 10 January 2013, legislation requiring a transgender person to be sterilized to have their gender change recognized legally was repealed [R1.4].


As at January 2012, under the existing law passed in 1972, a person undergoing a sex change operation must be more than 18 years old, a Swedish citizen, unmarried and agree to be sterilized [R1.3].

On 18 February 2012, the ruling Christian Democrats party reportedly released a statement saying that the mandatory sterilisation of people undergoing gender reassignment surgery should be dropped [R1.2].

In 1972, a specific law recognising a person's "new" gender after Gender Reassignment treatment was introduced [R1.1].


Courts & Tribunals

On 17 June 2016, it was reported that the anti-discrimination watchdog ''Diskrimineringsombudsman'' found in favour of a transgender person who was banned from swimming topless at the Stockholm Liljeholmsbadet swimming pool, ruling the pool's decision was unlawful and that anyone identifying as transgender should be permitted to swim in public pools without having to cover their breasts [R2.3].

On 15 October 2012, the Göta Court of Appeal convicted a 61-year-old man of the attempted rape of a transgender woman. While the appeals court partially agreed with the Örebro District Court's ruling that the rape could never have been fully consummated because the victim was still physically a man, the court nevertheless found that the 61-year-old intended to carry out the rape [R2.2].


On 06 July 2012, Judge Dan Sjöstedt in the Örebro District Court reportedly acquitted a 61-year-old man of attempted rape charges because the transgender victim was still biologically a man [R2.1].

R1.6 StarObserver: Sweden to compensate forcibly sterilized trans people 27 MAR 17
R1.5 TheLocalSE: Sweden to stop calling transgender people 'mentally ill' 29 JAN 17
R1.4 GayStarNews: Sweden ends forced sterilization of trans 11 JAN 13
R1.3 Sterilization law stays on Swedish books 12 JAN 12
R1.2 GayStarNews: Christian Democrats u-turn on Swedish trans sterilization 18 FEB 12, Debatt: Dags att avskaffa kravet på sterilisering vid könsbyte (in Swedish) 18 FEB 12
R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 08
2. Courts & Tribunals
R2.3 SBS: Sweden transgender ruling risks topless swimming precedent 17 JUN 16
R2.2 The Local: Court rejects transgender rape acquittal 16 OCT 12
R1.2 The Local: Transgender woman appeals rape acquittal 06 JUL 12
Hate Crimes, Hate Speech Legislation/Cases/References


In 2002, hate crimes based on sexual orientation considered an aggravating circumstance [R1.2].

In 2002, the Swedish parliament has passed a government proposal to change the constitution to outlaw hate speech against gays [R1.1].

The legislation, which is scheduled to take effect next year, must pass another parliamentary vote after national elections in September 2002.

The proposal would make unlawful speech that threatens or condemns a group of people because of their race, skin color, national or ethnic origin or religious faith.


Courts & Tribunals

On 09 February 2012, the European Court of Human Rights found that distribution of homophobic leaflets and the activities of those spreading homophobic propaganda are not protected by the freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 10 of the convention [C2.2], [R2.1].

R1.2 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 08
R1.1 Associated Press: Swedish Parliament Passes Proposal to Outlaw Hate Speech Against Gays 16 MAY 02
C2.2 ECtHR: Case of Vejdeland and Others v. Sweden (Application 1813/07) 09 FEB 12
R2.1 GayStarNews: Europe upholds Sweden’s right to curtail homophobia 09 FEB 12
Health, Medical Legislation/Cases/References


On 27 January 2017, the National Board of Health and Welfare, or Socialstyrelsen, reportedly announced that it would no longer automatically apply the diagnosis ''gender dysphoria'' to transgender patients [R1.3].

In December 2009, Sweden lifted the lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood. It announced on World AIDS Day that a 12-month ban would instead be implemented for anyone having "risky" sex, which includes gay sex. The change will come into force on 01 March 2010 [R1.2], [R1.1].

R1.3 TheLocalSE: Sweden to stop calling transgender people 'mentally ill' 29 JAN 17
R1.2 PinkNews: Gay son prevented from donating blood to dying mother 04 JAN 10
R1.1 PinkNews: Sweden to lift lifetime blood donation ban for gay men 01 DEC 09
HIV / Aids Legislation/Cases/References


In December 2009, Sweden lifted the lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood. It announced on World AIDS Day that a 12-month ban would instead be implemented for anyone having "risky" sex, which includes gay sex. The change will come into force on 01 March 2010 [R1.2], [R1.1].

R1.2 PinkNews: Gay son prevented from donating blood to dying mother 04 JAN 10
R1.1 PinkNews: Sweden to lift lifetime blood donation ban for gay men 01 DEC 09
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References


In 1944, consensual sex between same-sex couples was decriminalised [R1.1].

R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 08
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References


In March 2009, six of the seven parties in Swedish parliament backed a proposal to introduce a gender-neutral marriage law [R1.4].

The new legislation came into effect as of 01 May [R1.3]. Church ceremonies are not available, however the Lutheran Church reportedly offers religious blessings Ibid.

Gay "marriage" in the form of "registered partnerships" has been lawful in Sweden since 1995 [R1.2]. Gay couples have the same legal rights as married heterosexuals.

In 2005, the Government announced that it will launch a report into whether nuptials should be legalised [R1.1].


Courts & Tribunals

In December 2008, the Supreme Administrative Court, said that Swedish law from 1987 defines marriage as between a man and a woman and therefore the tax authority was correct to classify an overseas same-sex marriage as a civil partnership [R2.1].


Religious Organisations

On 22 October 2009, board members of the Church of Sweden voted 176–62 to allow clergy to perform the ceremonies from 01 November [R3.3].

In March 2007, the Church of Sweden said it would allow gay couples to marry in church ceremonies, if the government accepts a report recommending Swedish civil partnership laws be amended to allow same-sex marriages [R3.2].

In October 2003, the Lutheran Swedish Church took a first step toward allowing gay marriages when senior clerics voted to draft an order of service for such a ceremony. However, a final ruling was a long way off [R3.1].

R1.4 Sweden approves same-sex marriage 01 APR 09
R1.3 Gay marriage becomes legal in Sweden today 01 MAY 09
R1.2 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 08
R1.1 MCV: Sweden Set to Join the Gay Marriage Train 11 FEB 05
R2.1 Sweden's Highest Court Rejects Same-sex Marriage Case 16 DEC 08
R3.3 The Advocate: Swedish Church: Gay Marriage, Ja 22 OCT 09
R3.2 MCV: Swedish Church Approves Gay Marriage 22 MAR 07
R3.1 Reuters: Swedish Church Takes Step Towards Gay Marriages 22 OCT 03
Military Legislation/Cases/References


There is no specific policy on gays in the military and in January 2000, a Defense Ministry spokeswoman said it is not an issue in Sweden, which is generally liberal about homosexuality and gives legal recognition to gay partnership [R1.1].

R1.1 Associated Press: World's Militaries and Gay Stance 12 JAN 00
Parenting, Adoption, Fostering Legislation/Cases/References


In June 2002, Swedish legislators voted to let same-sex couples registered in a legal partnership be joint adoptive parents of children adopted in the country or abroad. One of the partners also will be able to adopt the child of another [R1.4].

On 01 February 2003, the law was to take effect [R1.3].

In October 2003, authorities in Sweden formally recognised the first two cases of same-sex couples adopting children [R1.2].

In December 2002, it was reported that gay couples in Sweden may get their own adoption agency as traditional offices have been refusing to accept their applications [R1.1]


A single parent of either sex could qualify for adoption if he or she passed an extensive state-administered battery of tests probing financial status, emotional stability and social environment. A friend or relative of the opposite sex of the adoptive parent was also required to commit to providing a gender model for the child.

Partners in registered same-sex relationships or marriages were ineligible to adopt, although the law was powerless to prevent a single gay person from adopting and bringing up the child with his or her partner.


Courts & Tribunals

In December 2006, a Swedish court rejected two separate applications from lesbians who want to adopt their partner's child, ruling that allowing the adoptions would undermine the right of the child to find out who their biological parents are [R2.1].

R1.4 Associated Press: Sweden OKs Same-Sex Adoption Plan 05 JUN 02
R1.3 The Advocate: Sweden to Allow Gay Adoption 25 OCT 02
R1.2 Bnews: Swedish Adoption Law 23 OCT 03
Independent Online: Swedish Gay Couples Adopt After Change in Law 12 OCT 03
R1.1 Agence France-Presse: Swedish Gay Couples May Get Own Adoption Agency 27 DEC 02
R2.1 Swedish Court Rejects Lesbian Parents 20 DEC 06

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