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The Swedish parliament approved new legislation that allows individuals to change their gender at the age of 16 legally, a reduction from the previous age limit of 18.

The parliament approved the new legislation with a substantial majority of 234 votes to 94, with 21 members either abstaining or absent.

Set to be implemented in July 2025, the new law will enable people to change their legal gender from the age of 16, a reduction from the previous age limit of 18. This move is aimed at simplifying the transition process for younger individuals. Additionally, the legislation facilitates the diagnosis of gender dysphoria, streamlining it to a brief consultation with a healthcare professional and subsequent approval from the National Board of Health and Welfare.

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The law also delineates the legal gender change from gender-related surgical procedures. Applicants under 18 can change their gender on documents with parental or guardian consent and medical approval. Still, they must wait until they are 18 for gender-reassignment surgery options and 23 for more comprehensive procedures.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson described the law as “balanced and reasonable.” His government, a centre-right coalition, faced some internal disagreement, with the Christian Democrats opposing the law. The Sweden Democrats also expressed concerns, particularly regarding the financial implications of gender-reassignment surgeries.

This legislation aligns Sweden with other European countries like Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Spain, which have similar laws facilitating easier legal gender recognition. Germany also recently passed a law aiding trans and non-binary individuals in changing their official documents, a move echoed by Scotland. However, the latter’s efforts were blocked by the UK government.

LGBTQ+ rights organisation RFSL highlighted that before this law, the process for changing legal gender in Sweden could take up to seven years. While Sweden ranks highly for LGBTQ+ rights globally, advocates continue to push for more inclusive policies, including the prohibition of conversion therapy and revising blood donation laws.

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