Q: We are making a project at school and would like to ask some questions.
A: We get a lot of questions from students about whether we can can assist them in their school work. It’s a positive thing that the interest is so big and that so many people view these issues as important. Unfortunately we don’t have the opportunity to answer everybody’s questions as we don’t have the resources in staff, but many of the answers can be found by searching our website.
Q: We are making a project at school and would like to come in contact with people who identify as homosexual for an interview.
A: We get a lot of questions from students about whether we can can assist them in their school work. It’s a positive thing that the interest is so big and that so many people view these issues as important. Unfortunately we don’t have the possibility to help find informants, but Facebook and other social media can be a way of finding people who are willing to be interviewed.
Foto: Eveline Johnsson
Q: How do I an employer inform my staff that one of their colleagues has come out as a trans person?
A: Firstly, talk to the person in question about how they’d feel comfortable with it being addressed. Maybe it’s easiest to disclose the information at a time when the person is not present. It is important to encourage the colleagues to find information about the subject themselves, so that the person coming out doesn’t have to educate their colleagues over and over again. It’s also important to remind people to be respectful when they ask questions, and not ask intimate questions that they themselves wouldn’t want to answer. Also clarify that respect for a name or change in pronoun is very important and that not showing respect is discriminatory. In the beginning it can be easy to misgender, or say the wrong name, but correct each other in a humble way and apologize if you catch yourself making a mistake. Everybody can make a mistake, but it’s the attitude and respect that’s important.
Q: We have a trans person at work. Do we have to rebuild the changing rooms now?
A: Talk to the person about their needs. You can come a long way with a simple shower curtain, but sometimes the premises are so good that a more secluded changing room can be arranged. Note that it’s the workplace’s responsibility to see to it that everybody feels safe and included.
Q: Are gender neutral toilet signs necessary?
A: Gender neutral toilet signs are appreciated by many and has a value not just for trans people. Parents with children, people with an accompanying person and others might also see it as a plus that the toilets are gender neutral.
Q: How do we make gender neutral toilet signs?
A: Many organisations, businesses and authorities have removed gender coded toilet signs. It is easiest just to write Toilet or WC on the door.
Q: Does Sweden recognize changes in legal gender that have been made in another country?
A: Yes, Sweden does. It is, however, unclear how someone who has a third gender registered in their passport (from, for example, Australia or Nepal) that moves to Sweden will be handled since Sweden today doesn’t have a third gender category and all social security numbers are coded as legally male or female through an odd or even number.
Q: Can I change legal gender in Sweden if I’m not a Swedish citizen?
A: Yes, since a few years back everyone who is nationally registered in Sweden have the possibility to change their legal gender in Sweden. If this change is recognized in another country is up to that country.
Foto: Eveline Johnsson
Q: My friend who is an LGBTQ individual needs to talk to a psychologist. Do you have psychologists, or where can I turn?
A: Unfortunately we have no psychologists or psychotherapists working at RFSL. But we can offer support to LGBTQ individuals that have been subject to partner violence or hate crimes through our Crime Victim Support.
If you live in Stockholm the county council has a psychotherapy clinic for LGBTQ individuals and their families – HBT-hälsan. In Skåne there is RFSL Rådgivningen Skåne. You can also contact your nearest RFSL branch and ask if they have information on LGBTQ competent help where you live or search in our list of LGBTQ certified clinics to see if there is one nearby.
Q: What is harm reduction?
A: Harm reduction is a pragmatic approach to reduce harm and other negative effects of for example drugs, unsafe sex or other things related to public health. Prohibitions that aren’t followed by enough people can often lead to increased risks, and harm reduction can be an effective method. RFSL often bases its work on the principle of harm reduction when we work with issues of health, for example when we give advice about safer sex or work with people who sell sex.
Foto: Eveline Johnsson
Q: Can we, me and my partner of the same sex, get married in Sweden even though none of us have our domicile in Sweden or are Swedish citizens?
A: Yes, in some cases it is possible for two people of the same gender, without Swedish citizenship, to get married in Sweden. Swedish law dictates that a marriage that has taken place in Sweden has to be legally valid in the country where you have your domicile or are a citizen. That is why it is possible for same-sex couples, where both individuals have their domicile in, or one individual is a citizens of and the other have their domicile in a country where they have a legal rights to get married, to get married in Sweden. Such countries are countries that, like Sweden, have gender neutral marriages and countries with some form of registered partnership. To get a consideration of impediments to marry approved by The Swedish Tax Agency, which is mandatory for entering into marriage, couples where neither party have their domicile in Sweden or are Swedish citizens must be able to prove that they have the right to marry in the country where they, or the countries where they respectively, are citizens or have their domicile. As proof counts a certificate from a qualified authority in the country of domicile, or an authority of the country of origin (for example an embassy) in Sweden which proves that they, according to the country’s legislation, have the right to marry each other. The certificate cannot be more than four months old. A form for impediments to marry can be found on The Swedish Tax Agency’s homepage. The application must be handed in in person at a visit at The Swedish Tax Agency. Place of birth, citizenship and marital status also have to be proven.
Q: We want help with private insemination! Are there networks for private sperm donors?
A: For questions about family planning, please visit Hbtqfamiljer’s website for more information.
Q: We are interested in conceiving through surrogacy. Is there a network that can give advice on how to proceed?
A: Yes, there is a network for parents with children that have been conceived through surrogacy and people who are interested in becoming parents this way called Surrogat.nu.
Q: We want to get married and are looking for a marriage officiant that is LGBTQ friendly. Do you have a register of this?
A: No, RFSL doesn’t recommend any particular marriage officiants above others. Everybody that conducts marriages is aware that their work entails marrying same-sex couples in a respectful manner. Our best advice is to ask same-sex couples around you that have gotten married, or people who have witnessed same-sex marriages, and ask if they can recommend someone. It’s the County Administrative Board that appoints marriage officiants. A list of all officiants could be found at the County Administrative Board’s website in the county where you live. If not, you can contact the County Administrative Board to get a list of officiants.
Q: I feel that I have been discriminated against at my work because of my sexual orientation. Where do I turn?
A: Firstly, it is always the employer’s, i.e. your boss’, responsibility to see to it that nobody at the workplace is discriminated against. So called preventative measures are the employer’s responsibility, as well as situations where an employee feels mistreated or harassed by colleagues or their manager. It is often good to go to the safety manager at your workplace for support and help with how you can change bad situation for the better. If the employer has broken the law, this should be reported. If you’re a member of a labour union, this is where you should turn. According to the law, the labour union has the right to represent its members in discrimination cases. If the labour union doesn’t represent you, you can make a report to the Equality Ombudsman (DO). Read more about what is considered as discrimination and where you can turn at DO’s website.
Information About RFSL’s International Work
Q: I am starting/running an LGBTI organization in a country where the situation for LGBTI persons is very difficult. We would like to be a partner of RFSL and get organizational and economic support. Can we make a project-proposal and apply for funding together with RFSL?
A: RFSL has limited opportunities when it comes to funding new initiatives, since we ourselves are working with projects funded by other donors. You are welcome to send us a description of your work and needs ahead and we will keep it in our database and get back to you, should an opportunity show up in the future.
Q: I am traveling to another country. Could you please share information about the situation in that country when it comes to LGBTQ issues. Are there any concerns security wise etc?
A: RFSL has developed briefs for Sida with information and guidance on the human rights situation in relation to LGBTI persons for almost every country and/or region where Sweden is engaged in development cooperation. These briefs provide a good overview of the general situation for LGBTI persons in different parts of the world. Unfortunately we have no capacity to give individual advice.