After Malta, Norway becomes second country to allow children to change gender
After Malta introduced legislation to allow children to change their gender, Norway has now become the world’s second country that allows children to have their gender changed.
Norway, a wealthy, progressive nation of five million people, recently became the fifth country in the world to allow adults to legally change genders without a doctor’s agreement or intervention. Argentina, Ireland and Denmark have similar laws.
But only Malta and Norway have extended the liberalised rules to children.
Provided they have parental consent, Norwegian children as young as six can now self-identify as male or female, effectively overruling the gender assigned to them at birth.
With no requirement for surgery or counselling, the process in Norway is as easy as filing a tax return. So far, Norway has not refused a single application.
Although Norwegian lawmakers concede that some of the questions surrounding transgender children remain unsettled, the law generated little controversy when it was introduced. Parliament members from left to right approved the legislation in June on a 79-13 vote.
Lawmakers considered adding a mandatory reflection period for both adults and children before they could legally transition, but concluded that would be “patronising”.
Instead, after completing an online form that generates a mailed response from tax authorities, applicants must only return a letter confirming their intention to change genders.
Once their applications are approved, they receive a new national identification number that unlocks the ability to update all forms of identification, from passports and driver’s licenses to birth certificates and credit cards. The tax ID numbers in Norway are gender-specific.
Until July, Norway was one of 32 European countries that required people to undergo long periods of counseling, hormone replacement and ultimately sex reassignment surgery before their gender changes would be legally recognised.
The provision effectively prevented children from transitioning legally and put off many adults who either couldn’t afford or didn’t want the surgery. In the United States, requirements vary by state, but transgender residents generally must provide proof of “clinically appropriate treatment.”
Although Malta allows parents or guardians to seek gender changes on behalf of children in court, Norway is the only country where minors go through the same administrative process as adults.