What it comes to human rights among sexual minorities, Finland is the 5th best European country to provide equality. There has been set laws considering rights of gender minorities and human rights. Some of these laws and acts still have deficiencies which violate one’s self-determination.
Sexual and gender minorities shorter known as HLBTIQ consist of terms: homo, lesbian, bi, trans, inter and queer. These terms describe the diversity of genders and sexuality what people can avow themselves. Many are familiar with some of these terms such as homo, lesbian or bisexual because these terms have become familiar in Finnish social debate, but trans, inter or queer might still be unknown for some.
According to the constantly updated sexual and gender minority vocabulary Sateenkaarisanasto, offered by Seta ry, the biggest sexual and gender supporting organization in Finland states these terms following way:
Trans: Word is used to describe person whose gender identity or persons gender expression is not defined precisely by birth.
Inter: Intersexuality makes it visible that people cannot be split in to a certain gender. Intersexuality shows that variations of human body are not separated female to male but gives wider scale for body features such as chromosomes, genitals, or hormonal activity.
Queer: Some people identify themselves as a word queer. Education designer and the expert of HLBTIQ-themes Marita Karvinen from Seta ry, states that ‘queer’ is not sharp definition to any gender but wants to provide wide possibilities to express oneself. “Sometimes the word ‘Q’ can be used to refer to the word ‘questioning’ in English.” Karvinen writes.
In Finnish society, the rights of the sexual and gender minorities have developed step by step during the history. In the latest annual report of ILGA (2018), the roof organization of the European sexual and gender minorities, states that Finland was fifth in the report on securing the rights of sexual minorities. Nowadays Finnish society the laws considering HLBTIQ-minorities and their support are for example Equality law, Non-Discrimination Act, Trans Act, Intersex Rights, The marriage Act, Maternity Act and Name Act. Goal of these acts is to create equal and respectful society despite the gender variety. With these acts the purpose is to strength human rights and to make sure they come true.
In this moment the biggest drawback of reaching the equality is the Trans Act, which violates human rights and from which Finland has received multiple feedback. This Trans Act demands sterilization for a person who is considering gender reassignment surgery, this act also requires the person who would need these treatments to first reach the age of eighteen. Also, to be able to do so, the person needs to go through many medical research and proof necessary of this change. These above-mentioned points violate human rights and the right of self-determination. For this reason, Finland has been advised to change this law urgently in a way that there is no need for sterilization for the persons who goes through this process.
So now, despite there has been set these laws, there should be ongoing development to reach the highest equal equality as possible. Visible discrimination can be seen still in everyday life where services and rights have been separated only for male and female representatives and not provided as unisex way. This setting evokes a question, where do we need gender oriented starting points to live and maintain good life when we could focus on individual’s needs?
Karvinen, M. Seksuaalinen suuntautuminen. Seta. Accessed 29.05.2019 https://seta.fi/sateenkaaritieto/seksuaalinen-suuntautuminen/
Pietiläinen, J. 2018. Suomi nousi seksuaalivähemmistöjen oikeuksien turvaajana jo top 5:een. Helsingin Uutiset. Accessed 29.05.2019 https://www.helsinginuutiset.fi/artikkeli/661520-suomi-nousi-seksuaalivahemmistojen-oikeuksien-turvaajana-jo-top-5een-ruotsi-ja
Sateenkaarisanasto. 2019. Seta. Accessed 29.05.2019. https://seta.fi/sateenkaaritieto/sateenkaarisanasto/