By Gabriella Blanco
In Nov. 2017, Sweden made headlines when it declared that it would recognize the addition of a third gender to official documents, including passports, in an effort to improve the well-being of the nation’s growing trans community.
According to Pink News, a site dedicated to delivering LGBT news in the US and UK, Sweden’s Democracy Minister, Alice Bag Kunke, was met with a nearly thousand-paged report on how the government could help create a more inclusive, safe society.
Reports have shown those who identified as transgender or nonbinary, have a higher risk of suicide due to poor mental health as an effect of discrimination and assault. By making a third gender, and other genders outside of the binary legal, it could, as some hope, be a move forward.
“I feel like when things get legalized, the general public tends to take that topic at hand a lot more serious, and that legalization definitely puts a stamp of approval on it,” said Environmental engineering sophomore, Jaqueline Casco. “The fact that a third neutral gender has been officially and legally recognized is for sure a step forward in terms of people taking different gender identities seriously, as they should be.”
Sweden joined the likes of Canada, some states in the United States, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, Ireland, Nepal, Malta, and Denmark in introducing, or processing the introduction of a third gender.
In most recent news, it has been reported that Taiwan is the latest to announce a third gender option on passports, carrying on its notion of being one of the most LGBT-supportive nations in Asia, following its role as the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage in May 2017.
Prior to this, in 2014, Sweden put the gender-neutral pronoun “hen” into their official glossary. The notion became the most controversial when it was noted that public schools in Stockholm were adapting to open usage of the pronoun among young children.
Parents in Sweden disagreed about this move away from the “norms” of raising children a certain way based solely on their sex, while others see this change, and that of the world, positively.
Casco, though she is not a parent, is one of those who sees this all as a good thing and encourages those who are parents to go beyond what society has deemed as “correct.”
“I like the idea of parents not confining their children into ‘typical’ gender norms because they tend to be oppressive,” said Casco. “[The notion that] boys and girls are not allowed to enjoy certain things because they don’t correspond to the kid’s gender is so wrong. Your kids should be allowed to enjoy whatever they want despite gender.”
As noted in a report from the Huffington Post, the more youth come forward in identifying themselves as transgender, non-binary, agender, bi-gender, or genderfluid, the more signs point to showing support and acceptance in all areas are key to a brighter future tomorrow.
It is uncertain if the future generation, raised in a world that is increasingly going beyond the “pink is for girls, blue is for boys” method of discussing gender, will be more open-minded.
But, as many show support in this societal move forward, it gives hope.