Jan Elisabeth Lindvik and John Jeanette Solstad Remø celebrating the bill allowing people to decide their own legal sex. Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix
The proposal was part of a new action plan for lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, trans-gender or intersex (LGBTI), people put forward by Norway’s Labour Party.
But the reform was rejected by the Conservative Party, the Progress Party, the Christian Democrats and the Centre Party — which together represent a majority of seats in the Norwegian parliament, the Dagen newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Jan Elisabeth Lindvik, leader of the Association for Transgender People, said it was only a matter of time before a third gender was recognised in Norway.
Only a few years ago, no one would have said we’d would have been able to determine our own legal sex either,” Lindvik told Dagen. “That was also a a maturation process, which took on rocket speed with the aid of Amnesty.”
When the reform became part of the Labour Party’s plan for 2017—2020 last June, Mani Hussaini, leader of the Labour Party’s AUF youth wing, agreed that those who decided to adopt the third gender would be referred to as ‘hen’, the gender neutral pronoun which entered the Swedish Academy’s official wordlist in July 2014 .
“I think that if for example in your passport it says neither that you are male or female, but that you belongs to a third gender category, then you are a ‘hen’,” he told Norway’s state broadcaster NRK.
About 20 percent of the world population are able define themselves as something other than male or female, with Nepal in 2008 becoming the first country to bring a third gender category into its constitution.
In Australia, people who did not feel they could be categorised as either male or female were from 2011 allowed to have an ’X’ rather than an 'M' or 'F' to describe their gender in their passport.
Similar legislation has also been introduced in New Zealand, Denmark, Germany and Pakistan.