LGBT Rights & Retirement in Denmark
LGBT Rights & Retirement in Denmark
LGBT rights in Denmark
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in the Kingdom of Denmark are some of the most extensive in the world. The Kingdom consists of the Realm of Denmark a sovereign state compromising three constituent countries: Denmark, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands.
In Denmark, same-sex sexual activity was legalized in 1933, and since 1977 the age of consent has been equal at 15, regardless of sexual orientation or gender. Denmark was the first country in the world to grant legal recognition to same-sex unions, in the form of registered partnerships, in 1989. On 7 June 2012, the law was replaced by a new same-sex marriage law, which came into effect on 15 June 2012. Greenland and the Faroe Islands legalized same-sex marriage in April 2016, and in July 2017 respectively.
Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation was entirely prohibited in 1996. Denmark has allowed same-sex couples to jointly adopt since 2010, while previously allowing stepchild adoptions and limited co-guardianship rights for non-biological parents. Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are also allowed to serve openly in the military. Like its Scandinavian neighbors, Denmark has become one of the most socially liberal countries in the world, with recent polls indicating that a large majority of Danes support same-sex marriage and LGBT adoption. Copenhagen has frequently been referred to by publishers as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, famous for its annual Pride parade. Denmark’s oldest LGBT organization, LGBT Danmark, was founded in 1948, under the name Kredsen af 1948 (Circle of 1948).
The legality of same-sex sexual activity
Same-sex sexual activity was legalized in 1933, and since 1977 the age of consent has been 15, regardless of sexual orientation or gender.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
Registered partnerships (Danish: registreret partnerskab) were created by a law enacted on 7 June 1989, the world’s first such law, and came into force on 1 October 1989. Registered partnerships had almost all the same qualities as marriage; all legal and fiscal rights and obligations were similar to those of opposite-sex marriage, with the major exception being that regulations by international treaties did not apply unless all signatories agree. Since 15 June 2012, entering into registered partnerships is no longer possible.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Denmark on 15 June 2012, after the Danish Parliament voted on 7 June in favor of gender-neutral marriage law, including marriages in the Church of Denmark. The Danish Government proposed a same-sex marriage bill in Parliament on 14 March 2012. Parliament passed the bill by 85 votes to 24 on 7 June, and royal assent by Queen Margrethe II was granted five days later. The law entered into force on 15 June 2012.
Adoption and family planning
Since 1999, a person in a same-sex registered partnership has been able to adopt his or her partner’s biological children (known as stepchild adoption). Adoption by LGBT parents was previously only permitted in certain restricted situations, notably when a previous connection existed between the adopting parent and the child, such as being a family member or a foster child.
On 2 June 2006, the Danish Parliament voted to repeal a law that banned lesbian couples from accessing artificial insemination. In addition, when a lesbian couple has a child via in vitro fertilization, the non-biological parent has been written onto the birth certificate as the other natural parent since 2013.
Since 1 July 2010, same-sex couples may apply jointly for adoption. On 20 July 2014, a gay male couple became the first gay couple to adopt a foreign child, when they adopted a nine-month-old girl from South Africa.
According to statistics released by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, 84 families had same-sex parents in 2013. That number had increased to 659 by mid-2018. In the Capital Region, the number grew from 42 to 293. According to 2019 statistics, about 27% of same-sex couples in Denmark were raising a child, whereas that figure was 43% for heterosexual couples.
Discrimination protections and hate crime laws
Danish law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, among other categories. The Act on Prohibition of Unequal Treatment in the Labor Market (Danish: Lov om forbud mod forskelsbehandling på arbejdsmarkedet), adopted in 1996, defines “discrimination” as follows:
discrimination means any direct or indirect discrimination based on race, color, religion, political opinion, sexual orientation or national, social or ethnic origin.
Gender identity or expression is not explicitly listed; however, a 2015 court ruling, in which a transgender woman filed suit against her former employer for alleged discrimination, held that gender identity or expression is included in the law.
In 2008, the Act on the Board of Equal Treatment (Danish: Lov om Ligebehandlingsnævnet) was passed, establishing the Board of Equal Treatment. Under the Act, the Board “shall consider complaints of differential treatment on the grounds of gender, race, color, religion or belief, political opinion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or national, social or ethnic origin”.
In addition, Denmark possesses hate crime legislation, following amendments to the Penal Code in 2004, which provides additional penalties for crimes committed against people because of their sexual orientation.
According to a report published in August 2019, 89% of LGBT respondents reported not being discriminated against or harassed in the workplace, 78% were overall satisfied with their jobs and 69% reported being open about their sexual orientation to colleagues. 9% felt they could not be open about their sexual orientation, and 8% stated they had been the victim of discrimination and harassment.
The Act on Sterilisation and Castration (Danish: Lov om sterilisation og kastration), adopted in June 1929, was one of the first gender change laws in the world. The first person to successfully undertake a legal gender change in Denmark, which required undergoing sex reassignment surgery, was American Christine Jorgensen in the early 1950s. She underwent an orchiectomy and a penectomy in Copenhagen in 1951 and 1952, respectively. Danish transgender woman Lili Elbe, who inspired the 2015 movie The Danish Girl, was one of the first identifiable recipients of sex reassignment surgery. She transitioned to Germany in 1930 and later had her sex and name legally changed on her Danish passport.
In February 2013, a Guatemalan became the first transgender person to be granted asylum in Denmark because of persecution in her native country. However, she was put in a facility for men, where she had been assaulted several times and was initially refused. Authorities reopened the case when she proved her life would be in danger if she returned to Guatemala.
In June 2014, the Danish Parliament voted 59-52 to remove the requirement of a mental disorder diagnosis and surgery with irreversible sterilization during the process of a legal sex change. Since 1 September 2014, Danes over 18 years old who wish to apply for a legal sex change can do so by stating that they want to change their documentation, followed by a six-month-long “reflection period” to confirm the request.
Pending a decision by the World Health Organization (WHO) to remove transgender gender identity from its list of mental illnesses, Denmark initially postponed a unilateral change. Citing a lack of progress at the WHO, the Danish Parliament decided to remove transgender identity from the National Board of Health‘s list of mental illnesses in 2016. The change came into effect on 1 January 2017. It was the second country to do this, after France which did so in 2010 The WHO eventually removed transgender identity from its list of mental illnesses in June 2018.
Besides male and female, Danish passports are available with an “X” sex descriptor.
House prices and renting
The cost of living in Denmark is low compared to the USA if you’re comparing major cities. You’ll pay typically up to 20% less for basic groceries and eating out. When it comes to renting, costs compare well too. Whilst a typical one-bedroom apartment in a city center in say, New York might cost $3000 a month to rent, the same apartment in central Copenhagen is half that, at $1500.
The price differential is similar outside town centers as well. But salary levels in Denmark are also significantly lower, particularly when you factor in the famously high levels of taxation which are close to 40%. When it comes to owning property in Denmark, you need to have been a resident and have lived in the country for at least five years before you can purchase. Property is in relatively short supply, but still not expensive compared to major US city centers. Expect to pay about half as much per square meter as you’d pay in say New York or Chicago.
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