Sweden’s first female prime minister Magdalena Andersson has added the country’s first-ever trans minister to her new majority female government.
On Tuesday (30 November), on her second day as prime minister, Andersson announced her new government, including Lina Axelsson-Kihlbom as education minister.
Axelsson-Kihlbom, 51, is a former headteacher and lawyer who became known as “Superrektorn” (“Super Principal”) after she appeared on a documentary series in which she managed to turn around a failing school in one of Sweden’s most deprived areas.
The mother-of-two also published a book in 2015 titled Kommer du tycka om mig nu? (Will You Love Me Now?) in which she told the world for the first time that she was trans.
She received an outpouring of love and support from the public after her book was released, and said in an op-ed in 2018: “Trans people have always existed, they will always exist and we no longer feel ashamed. We are the new normal.”
Axelsson-Kihlbom has said she knew she was trans from the age of three, according to Aftonbladet, but didn’t have the language to describe it, leading her to feel completely alone.
She medically transitioned when she was 24 years old, but in an interview on the Swedish talkshow Skavlan, discussed the cruel requirement at the time that she be sterilised in order to gain legal recognition as a woman, a law that was ruled unconstitutional in 2013.
She said: “I had to undergo an operation where the state ensured that none of my unique gene set would ever be reproduced.
“I remember that there were tears but did not know if it was tears of pain or because I was so enormously humiliated.”
According to Bloomberg, one of prime minister Andersson’s priorities is reforming Sweden’s highly-privatised school system, and Axelsson-Kihlbom is the perfect person for the job.
The new trans education minister, who has been a member of Sweden’s School Commission since 2015, said at a press conference after her appointment that she would work to ban private profits being made from schools.
She said: “Society needs to take control over schools. Every student’s right to knowledge must be in focus, and not share price movements or religious beliefs.”
Magdalena Andersson, Sweden’s first female prime minister, had to resign on her first day in office
On Wednesday, Magdalena Andersson was elected Sweden’s first female prime minister, but hours later she resigned following the collapse of her coalition.
In a dispute over budget proposals, the country’s Green Party walked away from the coalition with Andersson’s Social Democratic Party, and so she was forced to step down.
On Monday, she was reappointed as prime minister after a second vote, and will lead the one-party government until an election next September.