On 18th December 2020, the 'sex modification in civil status' law was passed by the Swiss parliament. The law allows any citizen aged 16 and older, who holds an 'intimate and constant conviction that he or she does not belong to the sex entered in the civil register' to modify it upon simple declaration, without any medical intervention or other prerequisites. What does this mean? It means that Swiss laws no longer consider sex to be a material reality inscribed in the human body, distinguishing females from males, but as a mere self-perception. 

End of Sex Separation 

The vast majority of adults who identify as trans do not modify their genitalia. This is the purpose of the law: to eliminate mandatory sex reassignment surgeries and/or hormone therapies as being a requirement for an official change of legal sex. Designed to make life easier for trans people, which of course is welcomed, this law actually affects all of us. Practically speaking, it threatens the sex separation that protects the privacy of women and men. From the age of 16, any boy can now officially be a girl and take a rightful place in all strictly female spaces: locker rooms, dormitories, sports competitions. Any girl can use the boys' toilets and showers. A female police officer will be able to physically search a male refugee. A man will have access to the shelters for battered women. And all this will be legal.

Open Door to Inequality 

In many countries, similar so-called gender or sex 'self ID' laws have been passed and, just as in Switzerland, the public debate is stifled. The public is not consulted even though this deep paradigm shift has major repercussions, especially for women. When any man can be a woman, upon a simple declaration to the civil registry office, then the entire current system of protection and promotion of women collapses. These fears are not unfounded: examples of abuse abound in countries where self-identification is legal. As many as twenty newly trans identifying males have recently won women's sports competitions (tennis, athletics, weightlifting, cycling, full contact). A bank manager who identifies as a woman for half of the week was named one of 2018’s Top Female Executives. In the US and the UK, 2020 saw many males identifying as trans elected to political positions reserved for women candidates. 

Reconciling the Rights of All 

The rights of transgender people are fundamental and their discrimination will not be tolerated. But laws must not be written at the expense of the rights of women and girls. We, the Swiss section of the Women's Human Rights Campaign (WHRC), oppose the text of the law as has been adopted. We call for a public debate on an issue which concerns all of us. We call on Swiss citizens to initiate and support a referendum.

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