Denmark: Landmark gender recognition law comes into effect
A Danish law that makes it easier for transgender people to have their gender legally recognised has come into effect, but has caused controversy among trans activists.
The law, which was passed by Parliament in June, scraps a requirement for trans people to undergo gender confirmation surgery before they can be legally recognised as their preferred gender.
Under the changes, which come into effect from today, trans people over the age of 18 can update personal documents – including passports, birth certificates and social security numbers – after a six month ‘reflection period’, with no surgical procedure required.
The changes have been welcomed by trans people who are medically unable or unwilling to undergo surgery, but the age requirement and ‘reflection period’ have both attracted criticism for restricting people’s access to gender recognition.
A statement from Transgender Europe said: “TGEU warmly welcomes these important changes as a benchmark for policy makers across Europe.
“However, TGEU is concerned about the waiting period of six months that is introduced with this law, as well as the minimum age requirement of 18 years.
“The imposed delay in the procedure prevents trans people from changing their documents quickly when necessary – for example when applying for a job, travelling internationally or enrolling in education.
“Furthermore, TGEU is concerned that the waiting period may also perpetuate misconceptions of trans people as being ‘confused’ about their gender, instead of encouraging them to change their documents quickly so they can participate fully and freely in all aspects of society.
“TGEU encourages the Danish government to closely monitor the implementation of the law and to remove all provisions that delay quick access to legal gender recognition.”
In the UK, the Gender Recognition Act requires applicants to have transitioned two years before a legal change of gender is recognised.
There is no technical requirement for sterilisation or reassignment surgery, but it is accepted as part of the supporting evidence.