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EQUALITY

Denmark to propose removal of age limit for legal gender change 

A new LGBTQ+ plan presented by the Danish government includes a proposal to expand access to legal gender change to all children regardless of age. 

Denmark to propose removal of age limit for legal gender change 
Denmark's government supports expanding access to legal gender change to all children regardless of age. Photo by daniel james on Unsplash

Currently, only after the age of 18 can people apply to legally change their gender marker on government documents. 

The new plan would strike that age cap, but children 15 years of age or younger would need the consent of their parents or guardians.

Legal gender change for someone resident in Denmark means that a person changes their gender in the national personal registration system, the Centrale Personregister (CPR).

According to the Danish Health Authority, some trans people prefer to change their CPR number so that it more closely reflects their gender identity. Generally, a CPR number with an even last digit denotes the holder is female. An odd last digit denotes a male.

There is no requirement to have requested or received any medical treatment in order to change legal gender.

It’s the second time the governing Social Democrats have proposed the change — it failed in 2020 to garner enough support in parliament, although there was partial support from left-wing parties.

Since then, parliament has consulted with the Danish Council on Ethics (Det Etiske Råd) on the issue of appropriate ages for legal gender change, which proposed lowering the age limit to 10-12 years old. 

“It must be considered doubtful whether children prior to puberty can perceive the fundamental reasons for, and grasp the consequences of, a possible legal gender change,” the council said at the time.

“Such a judgement requires a certain level of maturity and consciousness. One must assume that no elementary school child can formulate, by themselves, a desire to change their legal gender,” it said.

The equality spokesperson with the Conservative party, Birgitte Bergmann, told newspaper Jyllands-Posten her party was directly opposed to the government proposal, which is set to be tabled as a parliamentary bill in October.

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COPENHAGEN

Copenhagen installation critiques lack of women statues

Fifty white pedestals without statues have been erected in Copenhagen to draw attention to the lack of historical women represented in the public domain in Denmark.

Copenhagen installation critiques lack of women statues
“In Denmark, there are 2,500 statues. And only 28 of those statues are of women, which…is about one percent,” said Svante Lindeburg, the head of the Golden Days festival which organised the temporary installation “50 Queens”.
 
“We want that to change”, he told AFP.
 
He acknowledged that it wasn’t possible to change the city landscape overnight, but “what we can do is forward that agenda”.
 
“So we created the 50 pedestals, and we named 50 women to be on those pedestals”, he said.

 
The pillars are statue-less to emphasise the lack of recognition for women, despite Denmark being a bastion of feminism.
 
The pedestals are located in one of central Copenhagen’s most emblematic locations, Kongens Nytorv — which means “The King’s New Square” — positioned so they encircle a statue of King Christian V mounted on horseback.
 
The spot has been symbolically re-named “The Queen’s Square” for two weeks.

 
The women honoured include author Karen Blixen (1885-1962), painter and one of the country’s first transgender women to undergo sex reassignment surgery Lili Elbe (1882-1931), and 16th century scientist Sophie Brahe.
 
Forty-nine personalities were chosen by a jury among hundreds of extraordinary women, with the public tasked with choosing the 50th woman. That pillar is the only one not painted white, instead covered in mirrored glass.  
 
Architect Louise Mould, who helped create the installation that opened on September 2nd, said the mirrored pillar also represents everyone.
 
Everyone ought “to be able to stand up there and look at themselves, look at their friends … look at the people that surround them and realise that they can have as much importance in the world as the women represented here”, she told AFP.
 
Scanning QR codes placed on the pillars, visitors can learn about innkeeper Maren Splids, burned at the stake for witchcraft at the start of the 18th century, as well as activist and women’s rights pioneer Maria Engelbrecht Stokkenbech (born in 1759), writer Tove Ditlevsen (1917-1976) and singer Natasja Saad (1974-2007).
 
The pedestals honour deceased women only, and vary in height from around 50 centimetres to three metres.
 
“It’s a very good idea that all the women portrayed here are from different backgrounds, they come from different professions. It shows that women have made an impact on every part of society for always”, visitor Caroline Virklund told AFP.
 
“It is about time the focus is put on these women and that they are given a place, a very public place in the centre of Copenhagen,” added Louise, a 28-year-old historian.
 
In the Danish capital, only seven historical statues commemorate women, compared to 65 for men and 12 for animals, according to city hall.
 
Inaugurated by Queen Margrethe II as part of the official celebrations for her golden jubilee this weekend, the installation will be in place until September 18th but some pedestals are due to go on display in other parts of Denmark after that.
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