Oslo presents options to introduce third gender


Northern Europe


Passport showing the male gender. Photo EPA, Sascha Steinbach

The Norwegian Minister for Culture and Equality has presented five ways a third gender could be realised. A law firm has collected the possibilities after the parliament rejected an earlier proposal in January.

Last year, the law firm Lund & Co was tasked with the investigation that fell under the responsibility of the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Families (Bufdir). Now it presents a report on the legal side of introducing a third gender, Vart Land reports. According to the legal experts, human rights are not violated by a third gender. At the same time, it stresses that other human rights, such as women's and children's rights, should be kept in mind.


For the new report, different possible options to introduce a third legal gender were investigated. That is reported by Dagen.

The first one is to add the option of X to the choices of male and female in passports only. The birth sex of a person will not be changed in the national registers in this case. Thus, officially, non-binary people who do not identify as male or female will still have a legal gender that does not correspond to what they identify with.

The second option is to include a third legal gender category in the national register. That way, people who consider themselves non-binary can change their registration to non-binary. However, Lund and Co does not see this option as realistic, as it does not change anything besides the official registration.

Thirdly, the government could connect some legal rights to the official registration in the national register, the law firm pointed out. However, it could not tell precisely what the consequences would be, as it would depend on which laws would apply to non-binary people as well, Dagen writes.


Fourthly, the government could solve the problem of gender registration of non-binary people by removing all genders from the legislation. However, this would profoundly impact the current legislation in Norway. Laws like the Marriage Act, the Biotechnology Act, the Crisis Centre Act, the Criminal Procedure Act, the Equality and Discrimination Act and the Children's Act, among many others, would need to be changed.

The law firm suggests that combining the several options would also be possible.


The report concludes that Norway is not obliged to introduce a third legal gender to conform to European legal standards. However, Anna Bjørshol, department director of Bufdir, says there is an ongoing development in Europe towards recognising a third gender.



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