Record number of sex changes in Denmark

There were over 350 instances in Aalborg alone last year

A record number of Danish men and women are seeking to have an operation to realign their genders these days.

In Aalborg alone, 357 people were referred to the sex change clinic last year, a massive spike from 2016, when just 19 people were referred to the clinic. Copenhagen has experienced a similar increase.

“People are flooding in and I think this is only the tip of the iceberg. One can speculate that previously, a number of people have had to live with shame and in hiding, whereas today they are more able to stand up and say ‘this is me’,” Astrid Højgaard, a doctor with the Center for Gender Identity at Aalborg University Hospital, told Kristeligt Dagblad.

“Many must have gone under the radar before and perhaps sought help abroad, but that’s changing now.”

READ MORE: Seeing the traffic-lighter side of gender identity

Not an illness
The trend is similar at the city hospital Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, where a record number of people are undergoing hormonal treatment – 230 in 2019 compared to less than 20 in 2013.

The Department of Plastic Surgery at Rigshospitalet has seen the number of new patients shoot up from 2015 in 2017 to 346 last year.

“It’s the same trend across the western world. It’s probably down to a greater awareness that this isn’t a mental illness. In the old days, being transgender was something viewed as a perversion, but today it is more accepted that it’s not just a peculiar fancy,” Malene Hilden, a doctor with the Department of Gynaecology at Rigshospitalet, told Kristeligt Dagblad.

“Transgender is not something you become, it’s something you are. Hormonal treatment helps patients appear as the gender they identify as, and that helps their surroundings see them as such.”