(See Below for Case Law, Evidence of Public Attitudes, NGOs that Assist or Advocate on LGBTI issues, and Country of Origin LGBTI Specialists)
The Danish constitution, the Grundloven, does not explicitly protect the rights of LGBTI persons. The majority of protection mechanisms are stipulated in statutes centering around employment, notably the Act on the Prohibition of Differential Treatment on the Labour Market and the Act on the Board of Equal Treatment (2008). Moreover, in June 2014, the Danish Parliament passed the Gender Recognition Act , which removes many of the obstacles in registering a gender identity different from the gender identity assigned at birth.
The Danish Aliens Act 2006 stipulates that asylum may be granted to a person who has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion. In accordance with a 2012 ruling from the Refugee Appeals Board, people persecuted on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation constitute ‘a particular social group’. However, there is no explicit explanation as to how this will be applied. In addition, the law demands Denmark to grant protection to asylum seekers who risk the death penalty, torture, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, if returned to their country of origin. Partners of asylum seekers who gain refugee status may be granted asylum in consequence, independently of whether or not the partner is persecuted himself/herself. The Danish legislation is listed here.
The Refugee Appeals Board granted asylum to transgender person Fernanda Milán, due to the risk of persecution in Guatemala. The claim was initially dismissed and only granted upon re-examination by the Board.
The Refugee Appeals Board granted asylum to a homosexual asylum seeker from Afghanistan due to the high risk of persecution if he returned. The case set an important precedent, indicating a shift in the Board’s threshold for acknowledging persecution. Prior to 2013, the Danish Board considered the possibility for claimants to conceal their sexuality in their country of origin as being sufficient to refuse asylum, as exemplified in a number of cases discussed in the study ‘Disturbing Knowledge’.
The Refugee Review Board granted refugee status to a homosexual asylum seeker from Armenia.
PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND/OR STATE’S CAPACITY TO PROTECT
The 2012 ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Survey’ conducted by the European Union depicts the discrimination suffered by LGBT persons across Europe. The results for Denmark indicate several forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity:
‘1,710 respondents from Denmark took part in the first EU-wide survey of LGBT people’s experiences of discrimination, organised by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. 31% of respondents felt discriminated or harassed because of their sexual orientation in the year preceding the survey (EU average 47%; lowest 30% (Netherlands); highest 61% (Lithuania)). 11% felt discriminated against at work or when looking for employment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, the lowest percentage in the EU (EU average 20%). And 22% felt discriminated against when buying goods or accessing services, healthcare, social services, or housing (EU average 32%).’
In 2013, a transgender woman suffered a hammer attack against her in Copenhagen. The assailant was convicted on hate crime charges.
In 2014, a square in Copenhagen was renamed Regnbuepladsen(the Rainbow Square), indicating societal support for LGBT rights in Denmark.
In 2017, the Danish Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can have civil or religious wedding ceremonies under the Danish Constitution.
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs)
LGBT Asylum Denmark
LGBT Asylum is a group of LGBT people – asylum seekers, Danish citizens and persons residing in Denmark. LGBT Asylum works for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in the Danish asylum system, and we do support and counselling for LGBT asylum applicants.
LGBT Danmark – The Danish National Organization for Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgender persons
Postboks 1023, 1007, København K
For visits: Nygade 7, 2., 1164 København K
Tel: +45 33 13 19 48
LGBT Denmark works for equal opportunities regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation. They have three pillars: 1) political work, 2) counselling and information, and 3) social activities. LGBT Denmark offers legal advice for people in the LGBT community, including counselling of LGBT asylum seekers. LGBT Denmark is a member organisation of the Danish Refugee Council.
Onkel Dannys Plads 1. 1711 København V, Denmark
Tel: +45 33232000
Sabaah is an organization for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people with ethnic minority background. Sabaah’s mission is to create a sense of community and solidarity, and to create a network among LGBT persons in Denmark. The NGO is more aimed at LGBT persons already in Denmark rather than those aiming to enter the country.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN SPECIALISTS
We do not currently have any specialists on LGBTI issues in Denmark, but we welcome suggestions.
Researched by: Caroline Lewis-Jones