July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — A bill tabled in Norway’s government at the end of June would allow children as young as seven to change their sex on legal documents.
“This is an important area where Norway has lagged far behind many other countries for many years,” said Health Minister Bent Høie in an announcement during the Oslo Pride festival, according to a report in The Local. “Now we can be proud that we are implementing this law.”
The legislation stipulates that children between 7 and 16 must consult with their parents about changing their legal sex. If the parents approve the children would then be able to decide for themselves, without the need for a psychiatric or medical evaluation.
Children would also be allowed to reverse the decision to change their legal sex without parental approval.
“The proposal is historic in that it will no longer be the health service but the individual who decides if he or she has changed sex,” Høie said.
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The legislation is concurrent with another bill that would allow people to change their sex in the country's population register without undergoing surgery.
Høie told Norway's national broadcaster NRK that the current law, which requires that men be castrated or women sterilized if they want to legally change their sex, is unreasonable.
“I am clear that the present system is not acceptable,” Høie said. “The system we have in Norway today in this area is very poorly conceived.”
A representative of Amnesty Norway, Patricia Kaatee, delivered a petition to Høie calling for the law to be changed to allow men to simply claim to be women, and vice versa, for them to legally change their sex.
“The only requirement that should be needed to change gender is one's own experience of gender identity, not a diagnosis or sterilization. It is a basic human right for people to express their own identity, even in official documents,” Kaatee said.