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Identity

A New Law Could Allow Norwegian Children to Legally Change Their Gender

In the past, to legally change your gender in Norway, you were required to go through psychological evaluations, sex-reassignment surgery, and sterilization.
August 4, 2015, 12:00am

This article appears in the August Issue of VICE Magazine

The Norwegian government recently proposed a law that makes seven-year-olds eligible to legally change their gender—with parental consent. Under the new system, kids won't be allowed to undergo sex-reassignment surgery; only citizens 18 or older can have the procedure. The new legislation has received positive reviews in Norway partly because the previous one was considered so medieval. Before, to legally change your gender, you were required to go through psychological evaluations, sex-reassignment surgery, and sterilization.

"The [previous] system was unacceptable and has been unchanged for nearly sixty years. I'm therefore very pleased to propose a completely new system that makes it much easier to change legal gender," Norway's minister of health and care services, Bent Høie, wrote in a statement.

Credit for bringing the issue front and center in Norway should go to John Jeanette Solstad Remø. "The former submarine captain in the Norwegian navy realized she really was a woman but did not want to undergo all this physical interference," Gerald Kador Folkvord, a political adviser and coordinator for human rights education at Amnesty International, told VICE. "She took up this fight—saying it should be up to her to say who she is."