Sweden Wants to Allow 16-Year-Olds to Change Their Legal Gender

The Swedish government has proposed lowering the age threshold for changing one’s legal gender in the population register from 18 to 16.

The suggestion is part of the referral to the Legislative Council concerning a new gender identity law.

The current gender identity law, introduced some 50 years ago, was the first of its kind in the world, and its replacement has long been discussed and requested by LGBT organizations as well as several parliamentary parties.

Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren emphasized that the novel approach distinguishes between the legal and the medical sphere.

“It is one thing to change legal gender, and we make the assessment in favor of lowering the age limit from 18 to 16 years. When we, on the other hand, talk about medical sex, which is preceded by gender-affirming treatments and medical interventions, the age limit remains,” Lena Hallengren told Swedish Radio.

However, the new approach facilitates making medical changes easier as well. According to the new bill, it will be up to the health and medical services to allow gender-affirming surgery, whereas permits from the National Board of Health and Welfare will no longer be required.

“The question is that healthcare is to assess which treatment is best. Not politics,” Hallengren told Swedish Radio.

The novel proposal has been toned down in comparison to last year’s proposal, in which the government wanted to make it possible for children to apply for a new legal gender in the population register starting from the age of 12.

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