By Political Chairperson Lars Henriksen
This comment was originally published in danish on Berlingske.dk on 14 February 2022
Dear Trine Bramsen
Copenhagen Pride welcomes you to the fight for gender equality and looks forward to working with you.
We hope you will see yourself more as Minister for Gender Equality and Transport than the opposite.
Because the gender equality struggle needs a strong and dedicated minister.
We hope it is you!
You arrive at the Ministry with a case hanging over your head that requires your immediate action. The government is on the scales!
In August 2020, your government promised to present proposals in Parliament on legal gender reassignment for transgender children without an age limit. In October 2021 – Just after the “Children’s Prime Minister” had taken the lead in the human rights demonstration during WorldPride in Copenhagen, you suddenly decided, after an opinion from the Ethical Council, not to put the proposal in the legislative catalogue. In our view, you used the Ethics Council’s opinion to cleverly cover up your own reluctance to safeguard the lives of transgender children and make their lives safer.
Copenhagen Pride supports Legal Gender Reassignment without age limit because we believe that parents are perfectly capable of understanding their children and that children themselves are perfectly capable of knowing their gender identity. If there is to be an age limit, it should be before school starts, so that all children have the right to start school as the people they are.
The Ethics Council actually agreed with this. While the Council recommended an age limit before puberty (10-12 years), which makes the most sense if followed by the right to puberty-suppressing hormone therapy, it also recommended a waiver down to 6 years.
The government could, easily, have followed the Council’s recommendation. We would certainly have pointed out that, in our view, it did not go far enough, but would also have recognized that it was a good first step that would create a safer life for a group of children who are among the most vulnerable.
I think we both remember how unforgiving school can sometimes be to children who stand out for one reason or another. All parents want to protect their children from harm, but at the same time let them off at the school gate, leaving them to their own devices and the school pecking order every morning, 200 days a year. I can hardly imagine anything more anxiety provoking than, as a parent, having to send your child off every morning, with a name, social security number and official identity that doesn’t match the children, their self-image and how they present themselves in the world.
When we don’t change the law to give children the proper protection and respect, we leave children to take the fight to them. We can’t have that. But you, Trine, have the opportunity to right the wrong.
Let us, as your first act as Minister, have the promised Bill. Give transgender children the respect they deserve as human beings, and help ensure them in safer and better childhoods.
We will follow you in your deed.