Amnesty slams Denmark for transgender discrimination

The Local Denmark
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Amnesty slams Denmark for transgender discrimination
Competitors perform on stage during Israel's first Miss Trans beauty pageant last May. File photo: Menahem Kahana/Scanpix

Rights group Amnesty International has slammed Denmark for discriminating against its transgender population, forcing them to undergo psychological evaluations in decisions about their bodies despite law changes aimed at protecting them.


On January 1st, Denmark removed transgender from its list of mental illnesses. Despite this, transgender Danes must still go through a series of much-criticised psychological evaluations before they can receive the green light to change their gender through surgery.

Amnesty International’s Danish arm on Friday issued a damning report on the matter, accusing Denmark of violating the rights of transgender Danes and essentially rendering them legally incompetent by not allowing them to take such decisions about their bodies by themselves.  

“It’s about the right to your own body and your own life. Unfortunately, the point of departure is that the health system doesn’t trust that transgender people are capable of taking decisions about their lives themselves,” Helle Jacobsen was quoted as telling Danish daily Berlingske in an interview.

“It’s still about transgender people having to convince Sexologisk Klinik (national mental health services focused on sexology) that they’re transgender. It’s seriously rendering them legally incompetent.”

”First of all, you are declared legally competent when you turn 18. This means that transgender people have the same right as everyone else can decide about their lives. Secondly, none of the people that Amnesty has spoken with has regretted their treatment. In contrast, it’s something that most of them have been wanting to do for years.”

The psychological evaluations can take up to a year to go through after which the person wishing to undergo a medical procedure to change their gender might be refused to do so based on the evaluation results.

”It should be possible for a person who is transgender to get the kind of treatment that they wish,” Jacobsen said.


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