Location of Denmark (dark green)

– in Europe (light green & dark grey)
– in the European Union (light green)  –  [Legend]

StatusLegal since 1933,
age of consent equalized in 1977
Gender identityTransgender persons allowed to change legal gender without a diagnosis, hormone therapy, surgery or sterilization
MilitaryGays, lesbians and bisexuals allowed to serve openly
Discrimination protectionsSexual orientation and gender identity/expression protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsSame-sex marriage since 2012
AdoptionFull adoption rights since 2010

The rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons in Denmark are some of the most extensive in the world.

Same-sex sexual activity was legalized in 1933, and since 1977 the age of consent has been 15, regardless of sexual orientation or gender.[1] 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.[2] 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 neighbours, 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.[3] Copenhagen, the capital, has frequently been referred to by publishers as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world,[4] 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 Kingdom of Denmark also includes two autonomous overseas territories, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, which are generally more socially conservative. Same-sex marriage was legalised in Greenland in April 2016,[5] while the Faroe Islands legalised it in July 2017.[6]

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.[1]

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.[7][8] 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.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Denmark on 15 June 2012, after the Danish Parliament voted on 7 June in favour of a gender-neutral marriage law, including marriages in the Church of Denmark.[2][9] 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.[10][11]

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 a "stepchild adoption").[12][13] 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.[14]

Since 1 July 2010, same-sex couples may apply jointly for adoption.[15][16] 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.[17]

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.[18] According to 2019 statistics, about 27% of same-sex couples in Denmark were raising a child, whereas that figure was 43% for heterosexual couples.[19]

Military service

Openly gay, lesbian and bisexual soldiers serve without hindrance in all branches of the Danish Defence. Discrimination against gay, lesbian and bisexual soldiers in recruitment, placement and promotion is prohibited in Denmark.[20] There are prominent openly gay military leaders in the Defence and there are no reported cases of threats to gays, morale, or national security.[21] A 2010 study indicated that gay men in the Danish Defence show strength and are respected.[22]

Discrimination protections and hate crime laws

Danish law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, among other categories.[23][24] 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:[25]

Gender identity or expression is not explicitly listed, however, a 2015 court ruling, in which a transgender women filed suit against her former employer for alleged discrimination, held that gender identity or expression is included in the law.[26]

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, colour, religion or belief, political opinion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or national, social or ethnic origin".[27]

In addition, Denmark possesses hate crime legislation, which provides for additional penalties for crimes committed against people because of their sexuality or gender identity.[23]

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.[28]

Gender identity and expression

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.[29] 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 in 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.[30] 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.[31]

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.[32] 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.[33][34]

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 gender identity from the National Board of Health's list of mental illnesses in 2016. The change came into effect on 1 January 2017.[35] It was the second country to do this, after France which did so in 2010.[36] The WHO eventually removed transgender gender identity from its list of mental illnesses in June 2018.[37]

Besides male and female, Danish passports are available with an "X" sex descriptor.[38]

Sex education

Denmark has one of the most comprehensive sex education lessons in the world, which includes information on safe sex, prevention against sexually transmitted infections, abortion, contraception, puberty, sexual relationships, family life, gender and sexuality, and diversity. Sex education lessons are mandatory in all primary and secondary public schools, and also deal with other health issues, including drug use and alcohol.[39]

In 1981, Gå-Ud-Gruppen (The Outreach Group) set up supplementary sex education lessons giving information about same-sex relationships to senior classes in state schools.[40]

In 2008, the Danish Family Planning Association introduced a new online nationwide campaign for sex education. By 2009, 88,300 pupils were participating.[41]

Blood donation

In May 2014, six Danish political parties called on Health Minister Nick Hækkerup to lift a ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men (MSM).[42][43] In August 2016, it was reported that a majority of MPs in Parliament supported lifting the ban. The Danish People's Party, the Social Democrats and The Alternative all support a proposal put forward by MP Morten Østergaard to permit blood donations by MSMs.[44]

In March 2020, Denmark implemented a policy allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood provided they have not had sex in four months.[45][46] The deferral period will be waived off if the individual is in a stable monogamous relationship.[47]


Participants at the 2017 Copenhagen Pride parade

Danish LGBT advocacy groups include LGBT Danmark, founded in 1948 under the name Kredsen af 1948 (Circle of 1948). The organisation's founder was Axel Axgil. Axel and his partner Eigil Axgil were the first same-sex couple to enter into a registered partnership in Denmark, and therefore the first in the world, in 1989. Other groups include Lambda, based in Odense, as well as Q-Factor and Dunst.

Copenhagen Pride is an annual pride event held in August in Copenhagen. About 25,000 people marched in the 2017 Copenhagen Pride parade, and a further 300,000 people attended and watched the event. In 2018, about 40,000 people took part in the event, with thousands more attending. Among these was Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.[48]

Apart from Copenhagen Pride, other LGBT events include Aarhus Pride and MIX Copenhagen, a film festival.

Public opinion

A December 2006 European Union member poll by Angus Reid Global Monitor showed Danish support for same-sex marriage at 69%,[49] in third place behind the Netherlands (82%) and Sweden (71%).

According to a 2013 YouGov poll, 59% of respondents thought that same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children, while 79% believed same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.[3]

A 2015 Eurobarometer found that 87% of Danes thought that same-sex marriage should be allowed throughout Europe. Additionally, in that same poll, 90% thought that lesbian, gay and bisexual people should have the same rights as heterosexuals, and 88% agreed that "there is nothing wrong" about a sexual relationship between two people of the same sex.[50] The 2019 Eurobarometer found that 89% of Danes thought same-sex marriage should be allowed throughout Europe, 8% were against.[51]

Summary table

The rights of LGBT people in Denmark (excluding the autonomous territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands):

Same-sex sexual activity Civil union Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Gays serving openly in military Anti-discrimination (sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Yes Legal since 1933[23] Yes Registered partnerships since 1989 Yes Legal since 2012 Yes Stepchild adoption since 1999
Joint adoption since 2010
Yes Since 1978 Yes Bans anti-gay discrimination Yes Legal gender change and recognition possible without surgery or hormone therapy[52]

Summary by countries of the Kingdom of Denmark

The rights of LGBT people throughout the Kingdom of Denmark:

Right Yes/No Notes
Same-sex sexual activity
Same-sex sexual acts legal Yes Since 1933
Equal age of consent for same-sex and opposite-sex sexual acts Yes Since 1977 (Denmark and Greenland)
Since 1988 (Faroe Islands)
Homosexuality declassified as an illness Yes Since 1981[53][54]
Same-sex relationships
Registered partnerships for same-sex couples Yes Since 1989 (Denmark)[55]
Since 1996 (Greenland)[56]
No No law exists, bills rejected in 2014 (Faroe Islands)[57][58][59][60]
Civil partnerships in religious venues Yes Since 2012 (Denmark)
Since 2016 (Greenland)[61][62][5]
No No law exists (Faroe Islands)
Civil and religious same-sex marriage[note 1] Yes Since 2012 (Denmark)
Since 2016 (Greenland)[61][5]
Since 2017 (Faroe Islands)[6]
Adoption and family planning
Stepchild and joint adoption for LGBT persons and same-sex couples Yes Since 1999 and 2010 (Denmark)[63]
Since 2009 and 2016 (Greenland)
Since 2017 (Faroe Islands)
Equal access to IVF for lesbian couples and individuals Yes Since 2006 (Denmark and Greenland)
No No law exists (Faroe Islands)
Same-sex couples as both parents on a birth certificate Yes Since 2013 (Denmark)[29]
Since 2016 (Greenland)
Since 2017 (Faroe Islands)
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples Not applicable Illegal for heterosexual couples also
Military service
LGBT people allowed to serve openly in military Yes Since 1978
Transgender rights
Transgender identity declassified as an illness Yes Since 2017[64][65]
Right to change legal gender Yes Since 1929 (Denmark)
No No law exists (Faroe Islands and Greenland)[66]
Sex reassignment surgery, sterilization and medical diagnosis not required Yes Since 2014 (Denmark)
No No law exists (Faroe Islands and Greenland)
Third gender option Yes Since 2014[38]
Discrimination protections
Anti-discrimination laws in all areas on sexual orientation and gender identity (including employment, goods and services, etc.) Yes Since 1996 (Denmark)[29]
No No law exists (Faroe Islands and Greenland)
Laws against hate speech based on sexual orientation Yes Since 1987 (Denmark)[67]
Since 2007 (Faroe Islands)[56]
Since 2010 (Greenland)[56]
Laws against hate speech based on gender identity No No law exists[29]
Laws against hate crimes on sexual orientation through an aggravating circumstance Yes Since 2004 (Denmark)
Since 2007 (Faroe Islands)
Since 2010 (Greenland)
Laws against hate crimes on gender identity through an aggravating circumstance No No law exists[29]
Migration rights
Immigration equality and rights for LGBT individuals and same-sex couples Yes
Recognition of sexual orientation and gender identity for asylum requests Yes/No Some cases recognised
LGBT sex education and relationships taught in schools Yes Sex education compulsory in public schools
MSMs allowed to donate blood Yes/No Since March 2020, 4-month deferral period. The deferral period is waived off if the individual is in a stable monogamous relationship[45][46]

See also


  1. ^ Same-sex marriages give all the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage and can be performed on approved premises and religious venues in Denmark (with a religious ceremony guaranteed in the Church of Denmark)


  1. ^ a b Bekendtgørelse af straffeloven
  2. ^ a b The Copenhagen Post, 7 June 2012: Gay marriage legalised Archived 16 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2012-09-19
  3. ^ a b "YouGov / EMEA Survey Results" (PDF). YouGov. 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  4. ^ Chris Zeiher (20 October 2014). "The most gay-friendly places on the planet". Lonely Planet. Archived from the original on 8 November 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "Vedtaget af Folketinget ved 3. behandling den 19. januar 2016 Forslag til Lov om ændring af myndighedsloven for Grønland, lov om ikrafttræden for Grønland af lov om ægteskabets retsvirkninger, retsplejelov for Grønland og kriminallov for Grønland" (PDF) (in Danish). Folketinget. 19 January 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Denmark approves same-sex marriage in the Faroe Islands". Pink News. 19 June 2017. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  7. ^ The Registered Partnership Act
  8. ^ Sheila Rule: Rights for Gay Couples in Denmark - New York Times. Published: 2 October 1989. Accessed: 7 June 2012
  9. ^ Homoseksuelle fik ja til ægteskab - Jyllands-Posten.
  10. ^ 'The bill as proposed by the minister of Social Affairs and Integration', "Folketinget", 14 March 2012.
  11. ^ Article 1, section 7 of the bill, "L 106 Forslag til lov om ændring af lov om ægteskabs indgåelse og opløsning, lov om ægteskabets retsvirkninger og retsplejeloven og om ophævelse af lov om registreret partnerskab."
  12. ^ ""Draft Paper: Same-Sex Couples as Parents", authored by Nina Dethloff, Bonn University (footnote 16 references § 4(1) Lov om registreret partnerskab no. 372)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  13. ^ "National Report: Denmark", authored by Christina G. Jeppesen de Boer and Annette Kronborg, American University Journal of Gender Social Policy and Law, volume 19, number 1, p. 118, 2011 (footnote 18 references Act No. 360)
  14. ^ "National Report: Denmark", authored by Christina G. Jeppesen de Boer and Annette Kronborg, American University Journal of Gender Social Policy and Law, volume 19, number 1, p. 119, 2011 (footnote 21 references Act No. 535)
  15. ^ (in Danish) Lov om ændring af lov om registreret partnerskab, lov om en børnefamilieydelse og lov om børnetilskud og forskudsvis udbetaling af børnebidrag
  16. ^ "Gay couples in Denmark now allowed to adopt", International Gay, Lesbian, Trans and Intersex Association, 5 May 2010 Archived 6 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Første danske homopar adopterer fra udlandet". Politiken. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  18. ^ Rainbow family numbers in Denmark in huge increase, The, 14 August 2018
  19. ^ "Denmark's family law paves the way for rainbow families". 16 August 2019.
  20. ^ LGBT world legal wrap up survey Archived 25 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Konigsberg, Eric (November 1992). "Gays in arms: can gays in the military work? In countries around the world, they already do". The Washington Monthly. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  22. ^ Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Denmark. – a study of the experiences and perceptions of six homosexual men in the Danish Armed Forces Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine Associated professor Ina Borup, NHV — Nordic School of Public Health, Jan 2010.
  23. ^ a b c State-sponsored Homophobia A world survey of laws criminalising same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults Archived 19 July 2013 at WebCite
  24. ^ Main legislation Archived 12 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "Lov om forbud mod forskelsbehandling på arbejdsmarkedet" (PDF) (in Danish).
  26. ^ "Michelle var udsat for diskrimination som transkvinde". Panbloggen (in Danish). 29 July 2015.
  27. ^ "Lov om Ligebehandlingsnævnet" (in Danish).
  28. ^ "LGBT-personers trivsel på arbejdsmarkedet" (PDF). Als Research (in Danish).
  29. ^ a b c d e Rainbow Europe: Denmark
  30. ^ "Transgender woman granted asylum in Denmark",, 4 February 2013
  31. ^ Fernanda Milan, Guatemalan Transgender Woman, Granted Asylum In Denmark
  32. ^ "Denmark becomes Europe's leading country on legal gender recognition | The European Parliament Intergroup on LGBTI Rights". 12 June 2014. Archived from the original on 12 February 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  33. ^ World must follow Denmark's example after landmark transgender law, archived from the original on 29 August 2014, retrieved 4 August 2016
  34. ^ Bill proposing change of law in relation to the Civil Registration System
  35. ^ "Denmark to the WHO: Trans Identity Is Not a Mental Illness". Archived from the original on 13 August 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  36. ^ France: Gender Identity Disorder Dropped from List of Mental Illnesses
  37. ^ Being transgender no longer classified as mental illness. Here's why
  38. ^ a b "Denmark: X in Passports and New Trans Law Works". Transgender Europe. 12 September 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  39. ^ "Vejledning for emnet sundheds- og seksualundervisning og familiekundskab" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 July 2018. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  40. ^ Welcome to LGBT Denmark
  41. ^ The Danish Family Planning Association
  42. ^ Danish Health Minister called upon to lift ban on gay blood donation
  43. ^ Risikibetonet adfærd
  44. ^ Danish gay men should be allowed to donate blood
  45. ^ a b "Denmark to revise blood donation laws in 2019". Washington Blade. 24 August 2018.
  46. ^ a b "Denmark announces gay men will be allowed to donate blood by 2019". PinkNews. 24 August 2018.
  47. ^ "Nu må homoseksuelle mænd give blod". DR (in Danish). August 2019. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  48. ^ Pride parade was 'biggest ever' in Copenhagen, The, 20 August 2018
  49. ^ Europe Split On Gay Marriage
  50. ^ Special Eurobarometer 437 DISCRIMINATION IN THE EU IN 2015 Archived 17 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  51. ^ "Eurobarometer on Discrimination 2019: The social acceptance of LGBTI people in the EU". TNS. European Commission. p. 2. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  52. ^ Denmark changes sex change laws
  53. ^ (in Danish) 30 år siden: Homoseksualitet fjernet fra Sundhedsstyrelsens sygdomsliste Archived 12 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  54. ^ (in Danish) Homoseksualitetsbegrebet i Danmark
  55. ^ Same-Sex Marriage: A Reference Handbook
  56. ^ a b c STATE-SPONSORED HOMOPHOBIA ; A world survey of laws: Criminalisation, protection and recognition of same-sex love Archived 19 July 2013 at WebCite
  57. ^ Faroe Islands: Equal marriage bill voted down
  58. ^ (in Faroese) Løgtingssetan 2013 Mál: 51 Viðgerð: 2
  59. ^ (in Faroese) Løgtingssetan 2013 Mál: 52 Viðgerð: 2
  60. ^ (in Faroese) Løgtingssetan 2013 Mál: 53 Viðgerð: 2
  61. ^ a b "Archived copy" (in Danish). Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  62. ^ "L 35 Forslag til lov om ændring af myndighedsloven for Grønland, lov om ikrafttræden for Grønland af lov om ægteskabets retsvirkninger, retsplejelov for Grønland og kriminallov for Grønland" (in Danish). Folketinget. 29 October 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  63. ^ Gays given equal adoption rights Archived 16 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  64. ^ "Nu slettes transkønnede fra liste med psykiske sygdomme". DR (in Danish). Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  65. ^ "Danmark vil fjerne transkønnede fra liste over psykiske sygdomme". LGBT Danmark (in Danish). 12 May 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  66. ^ Jan Dagø (23 October 2013). "Holdningsskred i synet på homoseksuelle på Færøerne | Information" (in Danish). Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  67. ^ (in Danish) Lov om ændring af borgerlig straffelov og lov om forbud mod forskelsbehandling på grund af race m.v.