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Norway now allows trans people to decide their own gender

Bea Mitchell June 6, 2016
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Norway has become the fourth country in the world to allow trans people to decide their own gender.

Politicians voted in favour of the law, which will allow trans people to change their legal gender by filling out a simple form and also opens up the process up to children as young as six.

The final vote today, June 6, saw the law approved by 79 votes to 13. Norway is the fourth country to do this, following Denmark, Malta and Ireland.

“This is an important area where Norway has lagged far behind many other countries for many years,” Norway’s Health Minister Bent Høie said.

“Now we can be proud that we are implementing this law.”

The new healthcare law in the country will drastically simplify the procedure for people changing their gender, ditching the series of bureaucratic hurdles.

Trans people over 16 will be able to change their own legal gender without parental permission, while parents can authorise a legal gender change for their child between the ages of 6 and 15.

Prior to the vote, the country required trans people to go through a number of convoluted steps to change their gender, requiring them to seek medical treatment, undergo psych evaluations and provide ‘evidence’ of their gender change.

Joyce Hamilton, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s executive board, said: “This increasing trend towards safe and accessible recognition processes, and a model that empowers and advances the rights of trans people, is to be celebrated.”

Fellow co-chair Brian Sheehan added: “The Norwegian vote sends out a strong message to other European governments. Oppressive preconditions, such as medical interventions, psychiatric diagnosis or sterilisation, need to be consigned to history.

“The parliamentarians who voted in favor of self-determination today have set a strong example that their counterparts across the continent can follow.”

The US-based family of six-year-old trans girl Coy Mathis previously won a discrimination case after a school refused to recognise her as a girl.

Related topics: Children, Law, Trans

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