After first woman PM, Sweden gets its first trans minister

Published December 1, 2021
SWEDEN’S Minister of Schools Lina Axelsson Kihlblom speaks during a news conference after Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson unveiled her cabinet on Tuesday.—Reuters
SWEDEN’S Minister of Schools Lina Axelsson Kihlblom speaks during a news conference after Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson unveiled her cabinet on Tuesday.—Reuters

STOCKHOLM: Sweden’s new Schools Minister Lina Axelsson Kihlblom on Tuesday became the first transgender person to become a government minister in the Nordic country, a year after the appointment of Europe’s first transgender minister.

The 51-year-old former school principal and lawyer was added to the Social Democratic government by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, who also became the first woman to hold that post.

In her 2015 book “Will You Love Me Now?”, Axelsson Kihlblom described growing up as a girl in a boy’s body and her physical transition to a woman’s body, which was completed when she was 25.

“Trans people have always existed, they will always exist and we no longer feel ashamed. We are the new normal,” she wrote in an article published in 2018 by public broadcaster SVT.

Divorced and the mother of two adopted children, her government portfolio covers primary and secondary schools, while Education Minister Anna Ekstrom will be in charge of higher education.

In October 2020, a member of the European Parliament, Petra De Sutter, was named Belgium’s deputy prime minister and became the first transgender minister in Europe.

Audrey Tang of Taiwan is considered to have become the world’s first openly transgender government minister in 2016.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2021

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