|SC||Variations of sex characteristics|
|GR1||Legal gender recognition without self-determination|
|GR2||Legal gender recognition with self-determination (over 16)|
|GR3||Legal gender recognition with self-determination (under 16)|
|FPN||LGBTI focal points network|
|CA||Ministerial call to action|
The Discrimination Act (2008: 567), which is applicable within education, states that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression is prohibited. It also defines direct and indirect discrimination as well as harassment on these grounds and prescribes active preventive measures to be taken. In the government bill g2007/08:95) proposing the current Discrimination Act (2008: 567) it is explicitly stated that the intention is that the discrimination against, inter alia, intersex persons should fall within the ground of gender identity or expression.
The Education Act (2010: 800, Art. 5) states that education in Sweden should be designed in accordance with fundamental democratic values and human rights, such as the inviolability of human life, the freedom and integrity of the individual, equal value of all people, and equality and solidarity between people. The Law on School also states that anyone working in education should promote human rights and actively counteract all forms of offensive treatment. Article 8 provides that everyone shall have equal access to education in the school system, specifically referring to the Swedish anti-discrimination provisions contained in the Discrimination Act (2008: 567).
Finally, the Criminal Code (1962: 700, most recently amended in 2018) criminalises threats and expressions of contempt, and discrimination on such grounds as sexual orientation. It also classifies grounds such as sexual orientation as an aggravating circumstance to violate such groups. The government recently submitted a bill (2017/18:59) to parliament proposing to strengthen the protection of transgender people under criminal law.
The Education Act (2010, Chap. 6, §7-8) imposes an obligation on responsible authorities to draw up an annual plan against the abusive treatment of children and students. The Discrimination Act (2008, Chap. 3, 16-20 §) also imposes an obligation to take active measures against discrimination on all grounds and to document these measures. As a result, some municipalities have developed their own action plan. For example, the Action Plan Against Violation and Bullying of the municipality of Nacka includes sexual orientation or gender identity and expression as concrete reasons of harassment and the Action plan for bullying and all forms of violation in the city of Malmo classifies homophobia as examples of abusive treatment.
According to the fundamental values and tasks of the school, stated in the national guidelines (Curriculum for the compulsory school, preschool class and the recreation centre 2011), no one should be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of gender, ethnic affiliation, religion or other belief system, transgender identity or its expression, sexual orientation, age or functional impairment or other degrading treatment. The guidelines also establish that it is necessary to endorse the value of the diversity that exists in society and that a norm-critical perspective is a good starting point for working with inclusion. In general, gender identity and expression or variations in sex characteristics are not mentioned in the national curriculum or the syllabuses, but these curricula are based on the idea that “education should impart and establish respect for human rights and the fundamental democratic values on which Swedish society is based. Each and every one working in the school should also encourage respect for the intrinsic value of each person and the environment we all share.”
More specifically, human relationships are included in the curriculum under the head teacher’s responsibility. Gender, gender rolesand gender patternsare terms that recur in several places. Terms such as norms, valuesand ethicsare also used, as are gender equalityand sexuality. The term identitycan be found in, for example, the syllabuses for sports and health, and for religious studies in upper secondary school. For its part, the term sexual orientationis not mentioned in biology but the content in the syllabuses is gender neutral. The syllabus includes human puberty, sexuality, questions concerning identity, relationships and love, and biology. It also has information about sexual health. The gender-neutral content allows for a broad view on sexuality, gender, the human body, and identity, so should include LGBTQI-perspectives. Literature is another subject that provides an insight into the conditions under which people live, and issues related to life and identity. Teachers, therefore, have an opportunity to include LGBTQI realities in the content.
All teachers must achieve 60 credits of basic education science. In this compulsory training, they receive information on how to prevent and tackle discrimination in schools. The National Agency for Education, for its part, provides lessons using a norm-critical approach, and it specifically addresses the inclusion of LGBTQI people in the class. Civil society organisations, like RFSL, offer specific workshops, as well, and provide teachers with certificates to prove their knowledge.
The Gender Recognition in certain cases Act (1972: 110, as last amended in 2013) states that upon the examination of the National Board of Health and Welfare, a person can have an alternative gender to that indicated in the Swedish civil registration, recognised in certain circumstances. A person who is over 18 can, after an application of their own, have their alternative gender recognised provided that they have (a) over a long period of time perceived that they belong to another gender (b) for a while have presented in accordance with that gender entity and (c) are expected to live in accordance with that gender in the future. Any person (including a person under 18, with custodian consent) can have their alternative gender recognised where they have a congenital deviation in their sexual development and a change of gender is consistent with the development of their gender identity and consistent with their physical condition.
In February 2017, the Government announced that it will initiate two new legislative proposals which are proposed to replace the current Legal Gender Recognition Act. A medical diagnosis should no longer be a prerequisite for changing the registered gender. In doing so, the government takes the next step in the work for equal rights and opportunities for LGBTI persons and to modernise the Legal Gender Recognition Act, based on the individual’s right to define one’s gender identity. The legislative proposals are now being formulated within the Government Offices, and the ambition is that these memorandums should be remitted and later converted into a bill that can then be submitted to the Parliament (Riksdag).
The government monitors homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and interphobic bullying through the Swedish School Inspectorate. The civil society organisation, Friends, also collects data at a national level about bullying and segregates its information on different grounds of discrimination. This work is done in collaboration with the government. The organisation currently runs a five-year research project together with the Department of Child and Youth Studies at Stockholm University that reports bullying amongst young people. In January 2015, Friends also embarked on a research project with the Department of Psychology at the University of Gothenburg, with the aim of developing effective ways of involving learners in the work to combat bullying online.
The Education Act states that schools must provide health services to learners at all levels of education. They shall include medical, psychological and educational support. Young people who have experienced discrimination can, therefore, seek assistance from their school curator. Publically funded NGOs (like RFSL) also offers victim support services for LGBQTI learners.
The government provides information and guidelines on a national level. The authorities developed a methodology called Open School! to provide teachers with support in the work on LGBTQI issues. Civil society has also developed many different materials aimed at the school.
The government provides financial support to LGBTQI civil society organisations working in the area of education.
– Sweden has signed the Call for Action by Ministers – Inclusive and equitable education for all learners in an environment free from discrimination and violence.
– Sweden is a member of the European Governmental LGBTI Focal Points Network.