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You No Longer Need A Sex Change to Change Gender in Denmark

We talked to an LGBTI spokesperson in order to find out just how big this is for the transgender community.

Photo via Wikicommons

The Danish transgender community has reached what they see as a milestone this week. As of September 1, barely hours after this years Copenhagen Pride march ended, the Danish Parliament passed a bill allowing transgendered persons to change their gender in the CPR-register without having to go through a sex change procedure.

Until now, it's been impossible to legally change gender without the usual bureaucratic red tape, psychological evaluation, sex change operation and medicinal castration. Not anymore though, now it's possible to change your sex, and thereby go from a male social security number to a female or vice versa.


To get a sense of what this means for the transgender community, we called Vibe Grevsen, spokesperson on transgender issues at LGBT Denmark.

Vibe Grevsen. Spokesperson for LGBT Denmark.

VICE: Hey Vibe, can you tell us a bit about how this legislative change came to be?

Vibe Grevsen: Even before the last election, we were working for this change and for equal rights for both homosexuals and transgendered folks. We wanted to get these equal rights in the government platform and we succeeded.

So before this, you needed a sex change operation to be allowed to change gender?

Yes. You needed to go through a long psychological examination at Sexologisk Klinik. When they approved you, you could apply for permission to get an operation. Then the permit would be treated in Retslægerådet and Sundhedsstyrelsen, who would have final say. If they approved, then you were able to change your gender, legally.

So what's the procedure now?

Well, it's going to be a lot easier to change your legal gender, that's for sure. I haven't been in contact with the CPR-Register, but from what I'm told they received 35 application before noon yesterday. So there's been a lot of interest. I think that a lot of people didn't apply earlier because it's been so difficult to get permission.

What is this going to mean for the transgender community?

It's going to be a big relief for many people. To be able to finally get their gender identity recognized is a huge deal. For society to finally respect the the identity of these people. That you will no longer will be misinterpreted and scrutinized because your social security card says you have a different gender, than the one you feel like. It's going to change how transgendered citizens are perceived.


So is this going to lead to more sex change operations?

Well, maybe in the longer run because more people will come out as transgendered. It has been very stigmatised, so many people have not been open about it. So maybe it could lead to more people fulfilling their desire to come out as transgendered.


But this new legislation is not going to do it on its own. Quite the contrary. Sundhedsstyrelsen has announced that they are planning to make it harder to get the operation in Denmark.

So it's like two steps forward, one step back?

In my opinion, yes. But it's different parts of legislation that deal with these things. Mostly, we're very happy with this new law as it brings Denmark to the top of the pile when it comes to most progressive transgender laws. We now have one of the best laws in the world and definitely the best in Europe on the subject of gender identity, but unfortunately, we still face challenges when it comes to medicinal part of the treatment.

Thanks a lot, Vibe.

More stuff about this kind of stuff:

The Swedish Government Has Stopped Sterilising Transgender People Being Trans in Jamaica Sounds Even Worse Than Being Gay in Jamaica The VICE Guide to Being Trans