Minister: EU must 'step up' to defend LGBT rights
Pride Park in Stockholm opened last night, and one of the opening speakers was Sweden's EU Minister Birgitta Ohlsson. An outspoken advocate of LGBT issues, Ohlsson has told Europe's politicians to "get out of the closet" and stop hiding behind LGBT activists in their fight for equal rights. But are things all good and well in Sweden? We spoke to Ohlsson this morning after her speech.
"Of course, we have had resistence in Sweden, but I am proud to be living in one of the most LGBT liberal countries in the world," Ohlsson said, adding that there is still work to be done at home.
"Things have changed a lot during the past ten years. The major reforms we have seen in the country are from 2002 and up until now."
And in the EU, Ohlsson stressed that there is much more work to be done across the continent.
"Being responsible for European affairs issues, I think the European Union has to step it up to defend LGBT rights," she said.
"We have quite a problem in many countries – not only among the newcomers, but also among countries that have been EU members for decades."
"It is a shame that in some European capitals, a Pride parade cannot be held."
The Christian Democrat U-turn
The Christian Democrats no longer want to sterilise transsexuals, in part thanks to internal lobbying by key members, including MP Caroline Szyber.
Trans persecution rises
Helplines and the Crime Prevention Council say hate crimes against trans-people have increased. And there is a fear there may be many unreported cases. No one has yet been convicted of a transgender or transsexual hate crime in Sweden.