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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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HOUSING

Denmark reduces number of areas classed as ’parallel societies’

The number of underprivileged areas termed ‘parallel societies’ by the Danish government has fallen for the third consecutive year following an annual update.

Denmark reduces number of areas classed as ’parallel societies’

The updated list of ‘parallel societies’ and vulnerable housing areas was published by the Ministry of the Interior and Housing on Thursday.

The number of housing areas classed as parallel societies falls from 12 in 2021 to 10 in the new list.

Three areas were removed from the list (Aldersrogade and Tingbjerg/Utterslevhuse, both in Copenhagen, Agervang in Holbæk), while one was added (Askerød in Greve).

The number of ‘vulnerable housing areas’ (udsatte boligområder) and ‘redevelopment areas’ (omdannelsesområder) is also lower than on the 2021 list.

A ‘redevelopment area’ or omdannelsesområde is the new term replacing ‘hard ghetto’, used for areas which have been on the parallel societies list for five consecutive years.

The terms ‘parallel society’ and ‘underprivileged housing area’ have replaced ‘ghetto’ in the government’s official descriptions, after the latter word was scrapped because it was considered to be derogatory towards marginalised areas.

The lists are important because included areas can be subject to special treatment under Danish laws.

To qualify as ‘parallel societies’, housing areas of more than 1,000 people, where more than half are of “non-Western” origin, must fulfil two of four criteria.

Areas that fulfil the criteria are then required to take measures to combat parallel societies under a 2018 law originally titled the “Ghetto Law”.

The four criteria are: more than 40 percent of residents are unemployed; more than 60 percent of 39-50 year-olds do not have an upper secondary education; crime rates three times higher than the national average; residents have a gross income 55 percent lower than the regional average.

In addition to redevelopment obligations, areas on the list can be subjected to special treatment under the law, including stricter punishments for specified crimes and a requirement for small children to attend daycare.

READ ALSO: EU court to judge residents’ discrimination case against Danish government

The decline in the number of housing areas on the three lists is a positive development, according to Solveig Råberg Tingey, CEO of BL, an organisation representing subsidised housing associations in Denmark.

“The positive trend is the result of a lot of great local work over several years with efforts in relation to jobs and education and social schemes,” Tingey told news wire Ritzau.

“It’s very important that we continue this work in the coming years,” she said.

The list of underprivileged housing areas is updated every year on December 1st.

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