In 1989, three members decided to leave their seats empty when the Academy refused to condemn a fatwa against Salman Rushdie following the publication of his novel, . Stockholm prosecutors announced in mid-March that parts of the investigation against the sexual abuse suspect – concerning allegations of rape and assault between 20 – had been dropped due to lack of evidence.
In Sweden, sex workers are often viewed as ‘victims in denial’ by public health authorities.
The academy has since severed all ties with him and cut grants made to him.
It has also launched an internal investigation and enlisted the services of a law firm.
Recent Swedish research also highlights the success of innovative on-line approaches that help male sex workers and TG understand personal risk to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), their legal rights and how to access community-based health services.
Responding to the research and not viewing sex workers as victims, this paper outlines the design of Sweden’s first bespoke online platform targeting male and transgender sex workers.
Of the 18 elders of the academy, seven are no longer active members, and two women, Kerstin Ekman and Lotta Lotass, have gone on leave for several years.
The tradition of these procedures has a long history in Sweden, not only in the case of sex work but other marginalised social phenomena including homosexuality, ethnic minorities, transgender communities, people with mental illness and others.This stands in opposition to recent Swedish research on the sexual health of men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people (TG).This research stresses the need for targeted community-based sexual health services.Three academics resigned last week in protest after the institution had expressed renewed confidence in Katarina Frostenson, who finally announced her resignation on Thursday.According to Peter Englund, one of the three who resigned, the case has deeply divided the institution.The Academy, which comes under the direct patronage of the Swedish king, is traditionally very discreet and has been deeply shaken by the scandal.The head of the Nobel Foundation, Lars Heikensten, has publicly expressed concern about what he termed a “serious and difficult situation”.Critically, it is not reflective of the lived experiences of Swedish male and transgender sex workers.The official Swedish opinion is that sex work is harmful to both the individual and society; therefore efforts should focus on exit, rather than health improvement or harm reduction through information and other interventions.The general Swedish approach is a zero tolerance one firmly against sex work with the main focus on exit, not harm reduction, the latter of which is an approach common in other countries (SOU 20, p 95).Sweden’s zero tolerance approach stands in stark conflict with the more empowering harm reduction approach.