Cabinet apologizes for past law forcing trans people to get sterilized to register transition
Minister of Education Ingrid van Engelshoven apologized on behalf of the Cabinet on Saturday afternoon for a former law that only allowed for a gender change in their passport after a physical transition and sterilization. The law was in effect from 1985 to 2014.
The minister called the law degrading. "For decades, there have been people who underwent medical procedures they did not want at all because there was no other option," Van Engelshoven said. "Others waited for this law to be abolished. They were forced to postpone becoming themselves for years," Van Engelshoven said.
The minister of Education apologized during a meeting in the Ridderzaal where transgender and intersex people talked about the law's impact on their lives. "None of you should have experienced what you went through. I am deeply sorry this happened," Van Engelshoven said to the people in attendance.
Those who were affected by the law are entitled to 5,000 euros compensation. "The pain that they felt every day, you can't make good with money," Van Engelshoven said, according to the Volkskrant. Around 420 already reported that the law victimized them. Around 1,500 more people were expected to be added to that number.
The minister has been discussing with the Transgender Collectif on raising the compensation money. "It is not nearly enough. There was never any debate about it. It was a unilateral arrangement," Willemijn van Kempen said. Together with others, Van Kempen had asked the Cabinet to apologize for the former law. Before Van Kempen wanted to register her transition in 1998 she had to agree to sterilization.
Since the law is no longer in force, a psychological evaluation is enough to register a gender change.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times