Queer and gender culture in Sweden
Considering the pride week recently in Stockholm, and the reactions and opinions I've heard from international friends to the state of such matters in Sweden, I'm really curious to take the opportunity to raise the discussion in this international audience.
Some background - gender equality (even as it is called feminism) is a generally accepted principle in Sweden, most political actors have even taken the steps to embrace it publicly. There is reasonably strong legislation in place against the discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, religion, disabilities and sexual orientation.
Already since long gender roles have been a matter of public debate and both that of men and women have become quite nuanced ("watered down" some would prefer to call it). Gender-neutral parental leave has been promoted already since the 80s (with the iconic image of wrestler Hoa Hoa Dahlgren holding a kid). Homosexuality was decriminalized and no longer viewed as an illness some decades ago.
Recently gay interest groups have successfully pushed the issue of their rights to equal treatment, including church wedding ceremonies and we since Protected content a gender neutral civil marriage law.
It is generally considered very unfavorable to express opposition to any of these points and certainly calling for gay to be punished or marginalized in any way is a faux pas.
Homosexuals are still not allowed to donate blood (they are considered a risk group), adopt children or receive IVF. Transsexuals are mandated to be sterilized to be allowed to change their gender, possibly a breach of human rights which is to be decided on soon in government. Religious and political groups are seriously limited to be allowed to express their views or dogms for them not to be considered hate speech (notably the Ake Green case).
Given the quite unique state of things in Sweden, I would very much like to hear your opinions and experiences regarding queer and gender here. Are Swedish men really sissies and Swedish women masculinized? How does it all compare to your home country? Do you find the Swedish development agreeable? Have you experienced surprises or clashes with Swedish culture in these topics? If you are uncomfortable commenting publicly, feel free to message me and let me know if I can publish your contribution anonymized.
Let me finish with saying that I've tried to describe things as accurately and nuanced as possible. I by no means intend to cause conflict or disrespect, but you should feel free to post critical comments. Obviously you are expected to keep a civil tone in the discussion.
CJ, in Malmoe, former ambassador in Tallinn