Since January, the Sexology Clinic in Copenhagen has offered hormone treatment to minors who feel like they were born in the wrong body.
The clinic anticipated that around 50 minors would take advantage of opportunity to change their gender, but that number was surpassed in just six months and the annual estimate was increased to 130, news agency Ritzau reported on Wednesday.
In Denmark, children as young as 12 can receive hormone suppressors, also known as puberty blockers, to stunt the growth of sexual organs and suppress developments like facial hair for boys and menstruation for girls. The effects of the blockers are reversible.
Once minors reach the age of 16, they can receive full hormone treatment that is largely irreversible.
The demand for gender changes amongst children does not come as a surprise to LGBT Danmark, the national organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.
“The large number of requests in the Nordic countries is because we have been very late in starting treatment,” spokesperson Linda Thor Pedersen told Ritzau.
“Many more children can now get help to clarify whether they want treatment and receive the treatment at a time when puberty hasn’t yet harmed them,” she added.
Pedersen said that the onset of puberty brings on changes to the body that can make it much harder for those who want to change their gender.
“With transgender girls, their Adam’s Apple grows and with transgender boys their hips widen. This is something that will impact them for life because it can’t be fixed with an operation,” she said.
According to a report in Jyllands-Posten, it’s not just in Denmark that more and more minors are choosing to change their gender. In Sweden, just four children sought gender treatment at a Stockholm children’s hospital in 2012. This year, the number is expected to be around 200. In the UK, the number of children referred to the gender clinic The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust grew from 97 in 2009/10 to 1,419 in 2015/16.
Thanks to what was hailed as major milestone for transgender people worldwide, “being transgender” will no longer be classified as a mental illness in Denmark as of January 1st.