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HEALTH

Sweden proposes lowering age limit for changing legal gender

The Swedish government has proposed lowering the age at which an individual can change their legal gender from 18 to 16 years. The current age limit for medically changing gender - the age at which an individual can receive gender correction surgery - will remain the same.

Sweden proposes lowering age limit for changing legal gender
Health Minister Lena Hallengren. File photo: Lars Schröder/TT

The proposal separates the process of changing an individual’s legal gender from the process of changing gender medically, public broadcaster Sveriges Radio reports.

“It’s quite different to change your legal gender, where we assess that we can lower the age limit from 18 to 16 years,” health minister Lena Hallengren told the radio.

“Concerning medical gender, however, which would mean undertaking gender correction surgery and medical procedures, the age limit will remain the same.”

Furthermore, it will change the system of changing medical gender so that applicants no longer need permission from the National Board of Health and Welfare to do so. Instead, healthcare services will be responsible for determining whether a patient would benefit from gender-corrective surgery.

The proposal is expected to be discussed in parliament after the September election, at the earliest, after the Swedish Council on Legislation (Lagrådet) has made a statement on the subject.

In Sweden, changing your legal gender means, among other things, changing your gender on official documents and in the population register, as well as changing the penultimate digit of your personal number to match your new gender – this number is always odd for men and even for women.

In an earlier proposal from last year which was not made law, the government considered lowering the age at which an individual could change their legal gender in Sweden’s population register to 12 years.

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HEALTH

Sweden records world’s first case of bird flu in a porpoise

A porpoise found stranded on a Swedish beach in June died of bird flu, the first time the virus has been detected in one of the marine mammals, Sweden's National Veterinary Institute said on Wednesday.

Sweden records world's first case of bird flu in a porpoise

“As far as we know this is the first confirmed case in the world of bird flu in a porpoise,” veterinarian Elina Thorsson said in a statement. “It is likely that the porpoise somehow came into contact with infected birds,” she said.

The young male was found stranded, alive, on a beach in western Sweden in late June. Despite efforts from the public to get it to swim out to deeper
waters, it was suffering from exhaustion and died the same evening.

The bird flu virus, H5N1, was found in several of its organs. “Contrary to seals, where illnesses caused by a flu virus have been detected multiple times, there have been only a handful of reports of flu virus in cetaceans”, Thorsson said.

The virus has also previously been detected in other mammals, including red foxes, otters, lynx and skunks, the institute said.

Europe and North America are currently seeing a vast outbreak of bird flu among wild birds.

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