A somewhat transsexual story of love, trust and reproductive rights

Sofia Zettermark
Posted September 19, 2011 from Sweden

I fell in love with a boy. A rather sad boy, but with the most inspiring thoughts and beautiful eyes. We talked about everything, from colors to families and philosophy. We talked about identity and curiosity and he expressed a wish to now how it felt to be a woman. Just a wish.

It became gradually clear that the wish was more than that -- it was a powerful and undeniable feeling of actually being a woman, only in the wrong body. A feeling that had been buried deep down many years ago because of an unforgiving surrounding. You might expect someone to freak out a bit when their partner tell them a secret of this dignity, but I never did. I never did, because it was so very clear from the beginning that this was right. It was like turning on a light inside what was now my girlfriend. She spoke up. She smiled and laughed. She could bear seeing herself in the mirror, although the dysphoria of being in the wrong body is always there.

She got her diagnose -- "transsexual" -- about a year ago, and has now access to female sex hormones. The problem is she can't take them yet, because that will render her infertile, and she is not allowed to save germ cells. The laws in Sweden demand transsexual people to be sterile in order to make a juridical sex change, and to be considered sterile you can't have any saved germ cells. Transsexual people are not allowed to adopt since they are considered having a psychological disease (although one easily fixed - just change the body and things will be fine!) and it is hard to get access to a sperm bank since all health care is run by the state in Sweden, and same-sex couples are continuously discriminated against. In other words: Our government prevents me and my girlfriend from having babies in the future.

To have children is not a human right, but to control your own reproductive rights, and to be able to try, is. No one should be forced to choose between vital health care and their reproductive rights when there are options. I have always known I want to be a parent one day, and that has not changed just because I happened to fall in love with a transsexual girl. I refuse to give up the thought of a child at 21.

A friend of mine told me about this community. He always says "think about all the crap that people get published just because the were born in the right family or context. Well, you've actually got a story to tell. Trust in your own voice." So that is what I'm trying to do here at Pulsewire. Trust. Trust you to listen to my story.

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Comments 8

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Jana Potter
Sep 19, 2011
Sep 19, 2011

Thank you for telling your story. It is a beautiful love story of which you can be very proud. I'm surprised that Swedish attitudes towards transexuals are so restrictive. I guess I believed the stereotype of Sweden as one of the world's more progressive countries. thank you for bringing your story to the World Pulse community. It needs to be told!

Usha K.C.
Sep 20, 2011
Sep 20, 2011

Dear Zettermark,, touched by your love story,, and thank you for sharing among us dear.

Judith Faucette
Sep 20, 2011
Sep 20, 2011

Hi Zettermark,

Glad to have you here. This is a big problem that I don't think a lot of people are necessarily aware of. I'm genderqueer and do a lot of work on trans rights, and the "barriers to entry" for transgender people are something that many don't think about when they think of trans rights. In other words, many are aware of discrimination based on gender identity, but not aware of what states require for someone to legally change gender. Often surgery is required, or at least a diagnosis. Because being transgender is considered a medical problem if it is to be a right in many places, there are requirements like the ones you describe in Sweden. My true hope is that eventually countries will move away from this medical model and shift to a human rights model, where individuals can state their own identity and have a right to it without being deemed sick by their government. I wish you and your girlfriend the best of luck and hope that there is some way for you to have a family together if that's what you end up wanting.

Best, Avory

Sep 22, 2011
Sep 22, 2011

i m touched thank you

Charlene Phung
Sep 25, 2011
Sep 25, 2011

I was also very touched by your love story. It transcended gender, but spoke to realizing the beauty of the soul. I am appalled by the inequity of the Swedish reproductive rights. I always thought of Sweden of a fairly progressive country and I can't believe that they are so restrictive. I do hope that this story spreads and we all take up a collective stance against this injustice. I do hope that you will be able to have your own family soon.

Best, Charlene

cate morriss
Sep 25, 2011
Sep 25, 2011

Thank you so much for stepping in to this community and telling your story. I am sure you will find friends here that can help and advise you on how to use this beautiful strong voice of yours to create opportunities for change.

Your story is so very important as it highlights the terrible gender discrimination that still exist even in countries that promote themselves as progressive. Bringing these stories to the international community is critical to creating opportunities for change - keep going, keep telling the truth of what is happening to you and your partner. You are very brave and you can make a difference!

kind thoughts Cate

Oct 10, 2011
Oct 10, 2011


I want to say thank you for sharing this story. You are courageous for sharing your love and the challenges you've faced, and I applaud your effort to bring awareness to our community.

I wish you all the best in your effort to find justice and dignity in this situation, and hope that you'll continue to play a role on PulseWire.

Best, Scott