Norway on July 1 brought in one of the world’s most liberal laws for transgender people, allowing citizens to change their legal gender without surgery or even securing the approval of a medical professional.
“This shows that the right to change legal gender was eagerly awaited, and that many have been waiting for this opportunity,” Lisbeth Normann, a State Secretary in the Ministry of Health, told Norwegian newswire NTB. “It is about the right to be who you are. When we introduced this, Norway went from the rearguard to the vanguard when it comes to human rights.”
Ingvild Endestad from FRI, a Norwegian pressure group which fights discrimination against people who don’t fit into sexual or gender norms, said that many of the people who had applied had been waiting for years, even decades.
“Of the 190, there are many who have been waiting a very long time, some have been waiting their whole lives,” she said.
Until the law came into effect on July 1, people wishing to change gender in Norway had get a medical diagnosis, medical treatment and then undergo gender reassignment surgery which many argued amounted to compulsory sterilisation.
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So far none of the 190 applicants have been rejected, Norway’s tax agency, which handles the requests, told NTB. The agency could not say how many cases had yet been processed or how long the process takes.
Successful applicants will have their gender changed and receive a new identification number in Norway’s tax registry.