LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Denmark the first European country to allow legal change of gender without diagnosis

Today the Danish parliamentarians passed a law which removes a number of obstacles for legal gender recognition. Denmark is now the first country in Europe where a requirement for ‘Gender Identity Disorder’ diagnosis or any psychological assessment/opinion is not necessary for a person to legally obtain their preferred gender.

The Danish parliament also removed such requirements as medical intervention, compulsory surgical intervention and compulsory sterilisation.

New procedure for obtaining preferred gender coming into force on 1 September 2014 makes the person concerned the sole decision maker without any conditions imposed by the state: an application for legal change of gender is submitted to a relevant authority and after 6 months the applicant simply needs to confirm their application.

Gabi Calleja, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:

“Just like in 1989, when Denmark became the first country in the world to introduce a legal concept of same-sex partnership, today Denmark pioneered another significant change in Europe. Instead of keeping the state in charge of a person’s body and life, the parliament recognised that these are rights pertaining to the individual.”

Paulo Côrte-Real, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe, added:

“We are very pleased to see the Argentinian model for legal gender recognition being introduced in Europe by Denmark today. The benchmark is set high now and we encourage other European countries to follow suit and to remove unnecessary, humiliating and degrading requirements which hinder people across Europe to fully enjoy their lives in preferred gender.”

According to our Rainbow Europe’s Index (May 2014), Denmark came 10th among 49 European countries in terms of laws and policies affecting the human rights of LGBTI people.