• Norway's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Health Minister Ben Høie presented the proposal on Friday. Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix

Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change

AFP/The Local · 18 Mar 2016, 19:36

Published: 18 Mar 2016 19:36 GMT+01:00

The ministry introduced a bill proposing that "people who want to change their legal gender are no longer required to undergo medical treatment."
 
The bill is expected to pass with a broad majority in parliament.
 
"Norway is in the forefront when it comes to LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] rights. But our current system for changing legal gender is unacceptable and has been unchanged for nearly 60 years. This proposal is in accordance with human rights," Healthcare Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.
 
The bill "is historic because it is now the individual and not the health services that decide when he or she has changed legal gender," he said.
 
As in many other countries, people who want to officially change sex in Norway must currently undergo a long slew of procedures that usually take many years.
 
They have to go through in-depth psychiatric tests, hormone treatments and surgery for irreversible sterilisation.
 
"It's a very intrusive process," said Patricia Kaatee of Amnesty Norway.
 
The bill to be submitted to lawmakers states "that a person who feels that their gender differs from the sex they were given at birth, has the right to change this based on their own experience," the health ministry said.
 
People will have to fill out a document and send it to the nearest tax office, which registers civil status.
 
"It's the same procedure that has existed for changing your name since 2008. You can even do it in one click on the Internet," Ingvild Endestad of Norway's LGBT association said.
 
The age requirement to change gender will be lowered from 18 to 16, with no parental authorisation required.
 
For minors aged six to 16, parents will be required to authorise the change. If one parent opposes, authorities may decide "in the child's best interest."
Story continues below…
 
Children under the age of six will only be allowed to change gender if the child was born with a doctor-certified "genital ambiguity".
 
Amnesty International hailed the bill as a "historic breakthrough for transgender rights", and urged the Norwegian parliament to vote in favour of it to end "decades of discriminatory practices."
 
Norway would become one of the most liberal countries in the matter.
 
Argentina has since 2012 authorised gender changes by declaration only.

For more news from Norway, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.no)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Brexit
Iceland president: Brexit is good news for Norway
Iceland president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, shown here in 2008. Photo: Kyrre Lien/NTB Scanpix

Iceland's long-time president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson says that Brexit can give Norway and other northern countries a more important role.

Oslo court rejects Edward Snowden lawsuit
Edward Snowden speaking via satellite as he received the Bjornson prize in September. Photo: Svein Ove Ekornesvåg / NTB scanpix

The Oslo District Court on Monday rejected American whistleblower Edward Snowden’s lawsuit to prevent his potential extradition.

Video
VIDEO: Norwegians set world record for largest bonfire
The bonfire was measured at 47.4 metres. Photo: Runar Andersen / NTB scanpix

See stunning video of the world's tallest bonfire going up in flames as Norway celebrated midsummer.

Brexit - Opinion
Norwegian in London: 'Brexit is dreadful for the UK's unity'
Commuters cross the London Bridge on Friday. Photo: DANIEL SORABJI/Scanpix

Welsh-Norwegian reporter Sunniva Davies-Rommetveit writes that Brexit leaves her fearing a new isolationist UK.

Norway enjoys one of world's 'best reputations'
Despite a fall from second, Norway still enjoys one of the world's best reputations. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt / NTB scanpix

Norway tumbled three spots in a new report ranking the most reputable countries in the world.

Brexit
Norway PM: EU should heed Brexit ‘warning’
People walk past a "Vote Leave" sign as they arrive to vote in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Thursday. Photo: Paul Faith/Scanpix

Erna Solberg said on Friday morning that she is worried about the knock-off political consequences of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

Rain threatens Norway's Sankthans celebrations
According to the forecast, this year's Sankthans celebrations won't be quite as nice as last year. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Norwegians may have a hard time lighting their Sankthans bonfires, as the weekend calls for damp conditions throughout the country, particularly in the south.

Surprise! Norway not priciest place for food in Europe
Filling your cart in a Norwegian supermarket costs 159 percent of the EU average. Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix

... but it is for booze and tobacco.

PM 'happy' with asylum restrictions but wants more
By her own calculations, PM Erna Solberg has delivered on 95 percent of her promises. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix

PM Erna Solberg touted her government’s success in delivering on its 2013 election promises but said she regrets that she couldn’t push through even more asylum restrictions.

Man threatens to set himself on fire at Norway's parliament
he incident occurred at Eidsvoll Square, just west of the parliament building. Photo: Chris Brown/Flickr

A man threatened to light himself on fire outside of the Norwegian parliament building in Oslo on Wednesday.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Norway's ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
National
Norway makes ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
International
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars
National
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars – yet
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
National
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
National
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
Society
Record number of kids mark Norway's National Day
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
Travel
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Lifestyle
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
National
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
National
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Society
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Health
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
National
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
2,038
jobs available