Lina Axelsson Kihlblom, a 51-year-old former school principal who was born a man and ‘transitioned’ in the 1990s, has been named Schools Minister in Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s new leftist government, making Kihlblom Sweden’s first transgender minister.
Kihlblom’s historic appointment comes a year after Belgium became the first European country to appoint a transgender minister when Prime Minister Alexander De Croo named Petra De Sutter as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Civil Service, Swedish daily Aftonbladet reports.
Kihlblom, divorced and the parent of two adopted children, was added to Sweden’s newly formed leftist government by Andersson, who became the first woman to assume the role of Prime Minister.
Before taking on the role of Schools Minister, Kihlblom had been known throughout Sweden for writing the 2015 book Are You Going to Love Me Now? (Kommer du tycka om mig nu?) which recounts the story of growing up with gender dysphoria and having a sex reassignment surgery at 25.
“Trans people have always existed, will always exist, and we are no longer ashamed. We are the new normal,” Kihlblom wrote in a 2018 column published in SVT Nyheter.
Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science. His Twitter handle is @R_Semonsen.