Annual Review 2011
Denmark opted out of implementation of the EU Asylum Qualification Directive (2011/95/EU), which among other provisions covers sexual orientation and gender identity.
Bias motivated speech
- In January, TV2 Eastjutland (a Danish regional TV station) broadcasted an interview with the editor of an LGBT magazine in which the interviewer expressed doubts about the line between a story of a trans woman and “a freak show of deviants with perverted desires.” LGBT Denmark issued a complaint, which was followed by several individual complaints, and the issue reached the mainstream media. It was later described by a commentator as the fi rst time that Danish trans people had united in a demand for dignity and respect.
- In May, the organisers of a conference against sex work invited two notable transphobes to speak. Trans human rights defenders attended to circulate information leaflets and make a peaceful show of presence. During the summer trans issues received a lot of media interest, averaging ten pieces a month.
Equality and non-discrimination
- In 2011, Denmark was reviewed during the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review process. However, no recommendations in relation to LGBT issues were made.
- n February, the Minister of Gender Equality launched a campaign to encourage men to opt to work in areas typically identifi ed as “women’s work.” The title of the campaign was Change your job, not your sex playing into gender stereotypes and reinforcing the stigmatisation of trans persons.
- Following the September parliamentary elections, the new government included the fi rst ever section on LGBT issues in their political programme promising (i) marriage equality for same-sex couples; (ii) improvements in legal recognition of co-mothers; (iii) collection of statistical data on hate crimes; and (iv) investigation of the conditions for gender reassignment surgery and possibly legal gender recognition without surgical requirements.
- In December, the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) organised two international seminars Scandinavian Trans*Studies and Trans Politics and Human Rights.
- LGBT Denmark launched a campaign for trans related healthcare that does not require prior psychiatric assessment [pathologisation]. As part of the campaign, a consensus statement for the reclassifi cation of trans healthcare was proposed in view of the World Health Organisation’s International Classifi cation of Diseases 11th Revision (ICD-11) working group call for input. The organisation also provided feedback for the development of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). In December, 11,000 signatures were collected in a petition demanding the ability to defi ne and be recognised in one’s own gender as a human right rather than a psychiatric disorder.
- In October, a medical newspaper learnt that the Department of Sexology had complained to the authorities after a private surgeon had carried out a breast reduction on a 15 year-old trans man, who had previously been rejected by the sexologists because of his age. The story spread to national TV and newspapers. The teenager and his mother had given very positive interviews about his transition during the summer and continued to receive positive media representation. Several polls showed that a third of the population supported his surgery.
Human rights defenders
Axel Axgil, the surviving partner of the first ever couple to enter into a registered same-sex partnership in the world, died in October at the age of 96. He and his partner Eigil Eskildsen met in the 1940s and were founding members of the homosexual rights movement of Denmark. His work pioneered legal and social changes and contributed towards the setting up of the LGBT movement. He was still working for LGBT rights into his 80s.
Legal gender recognition
- Discussions continued with the Minister of Internal Affairs on the personal identification number in the Civil Registration System. The number identifi es the legal gender of the person, with even numbers indicating women and odd numbers indicating men. The number isused throughout public administration and much of the private sector, notably the financial sector.
- A large Danish educational institution which had previously refused to issue new certificates of qualifications under the new name of a trans person changed its position after intervention.
Participation in public/political life
- In March, 15 year-old Sarah Jørgensen won the Danish talent show X-Factor. She openly spoke about her being a lesbian and the wide coverage of her in the media resulted in a huge boost in awareness about LGB people among young people in Denmark.
- In March, the first ever hearing on trans issues took place in Parliament and a number of actions and developments in relation to trans issues were achieved. It involved 120 participants and 29 organisations, and received wide media coverage.
Police and law enforcement
Throughout the year, an education campaign on hate crime for the police districts was carried out by the Danish Security and Intelligence Service in collaboration with DIHR.
A poll conducted by Rambøll/Analyse Denmark (a statistical analysis company) showed that over 75% of Danes approved of the registration of marriages for same-sex couples by the Church of Denmark. However, the approval rate of marriages for same-sex couples among the clergy lags behind that of the rest of the population.