18 Safe Countries for Trans Kids

18 Safe Countries for Trans Kids

In an increasingly fraught political environment, transgender rights seem to get brought into question more frequently of late. Rising right-wing sentiment seems to fuel much of the ire, though the causes are more complex than we’ll try to address here.

Our stance is simple: trans rights are human rights. Trans kids are increasingly at risk in the U.S., battered by anti-LGBTQ legislation in any number of states. If you’re searching for a new home abroad that supports your child’s gender-affirming care, consider these safe countries for trans kids:

Austria

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Austria allows minors to legally change their gender recognition without an age requirement. The minimum age for accessing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is 18.

Belgium

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Considered a safe haven for transgender people, Belgium grants hormone therapy access to minors under the same conditions as any other medical treatment. Legal gender recognition is also available, allowing trans youth to legally change their gender on government IDs.

Croatia

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A 2017 report from the FRA states that minors can access transgender hormone therapy before the age of 18, provided they have parental consent.

Cyprus

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Cyprus banned any form of conversion therapy some years ago. According to a 2017 report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, hormone therapy for minors is provided under the same conditions as any sexual health treatment. Parental consent may be required for treatment for individuals under 18 years old.

Denmark

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Denmark launched a centralized gender transition service in 2016, inspired by similar efforts in Amsterdam. While hormone therapy is an option, the Danish system shifted to treating most youth experiencing gender dysphoria with psychosocial support. Teens 15 and over can consent to treatment without parental agreement.

France

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France lets minors access gender-affirming care such as puberty blockers and HRT. However, most healthcare officials require a psychological assessment first, which can take several months to schedule an initial appointment.

Germany

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Germany offers legal gender recognition for minors without compulsory intervention. It also allows for nonbinary recognition. Conversion therapy is prohibited, as well. The Federal Germany Ministry of Family Affairs created a rainbow portal containing a wealth of resources to address LGBTQ issues, including trans youth. Use a browser plugin like Google Translate, as the bulk of the site is written in German.

Greece

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Greece banned conversion therapy for minors in 2022. According to a 2017 report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, hormone therapy for minors is provided under the same conditions as any sexual health treatment. Parental consent may be required for treatment for individuals under 18 years old.

Iceland

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Iceland is among the most queer-friendly countries in the world. Thanks to 2019 legislation, transgender minors in Iceland can update their legal gender (with parental consent) without receiving a medical diagnosis. Trans people can also access gender-affirming healthcare by informed consent, overturning more restrictive laws requiring extensive psychiatric evaluation before beginning hormone therapy.

Luxembourg

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Minors as young as 5 can legally change their gender in Luxembourg. A 2017 report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights states that hormone therapy is provided for minors under the same conditions as any other medical treatment, dependent on the child’s maturity.

Malta

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Malta tops many lists of safe countries for trans kids. In 2014, it became the first country to protect gender identity in its constitution. In 2022, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced plans to make gender-affirming surgery free for all Maltese citizens, including trans youth. Its age requirement for access to transgender hormone therapy is 16 years. Transgender Europe (TGEU) named Malta as the best European country for accessing trans healthcare.

The Netherlands

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Among the key safe countries for trans kids, the Netherlands has long advocated for transgender youth. Minors showing gender dysphoria are carefully observed during puberty’s earliest stages, becoming eligible for puberty blockers and/or HRT at 16 years old. The Dutch have found that withholding this kind of medical care in adolescence often causes more harm than good.

Norway

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Minors can transition in Norway from the age of 6 with parental consent. Minors can access puberty blockers after interdisciplinary assessment from their healthcare team; after turning 16, they can also receive hormone therapy.

Portugal

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Travel journalists Asher & Lyric say that 18-year-olds can get a legal gender ID change with no requirements in Portugal, but 16-year-olds need a psych evaluation and parental consent.

South Africa

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Trans people are protected under South African law. Gender-affirming surgery is accessible, though likely not until after the person turns 18. No forced procedures are required to legally change gender identity.

Spain

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In February 2023, Spain greatly expanded rights for the LGBTQ community, especially for trans people. The new “transgender law” streamlines the process for anyone over 16 to change gender on ID documents, eliminating the two-year treatment period and gender dysphoria diagnosis.

Gender-affirming care access has been simplified in much of the country, too. A family doctor can refer trans youth to a clinic that will help them access needed care, including puberty blockers or hormones. TGEU says Spain is the second-best country in Europe for accessing trans healthcare, behind Malta.

Switzerland

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Swiss law has allows transgender minors aged 16 and older to update their gender and legal name since 2022. They still require parental consent to do so.

Thailand

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Gender-affirming care is available for minors in Thailand. LGBTQ activist groups are working with the Thai government to get trans healthcare needs covered by the universal healthcare system. While implementation may still be a few years away, the Tangerine Clinic in Bangkok has treated thousands of transgender patients since 2015.

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Getting buried under student loan debt doesn’t have to be your future. Instead of staying in the U.S. to get a college degree that could take decades to pay off, we’ve found 29 countries with free college for American student expats. But do you have to speak the language in order to get the education?

29 Countries That Will Never Offer Student Loan Forgiveness (Because College is Free)

How to Leave America: 6 Steps to Your New Life

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Are you thinking about leaving the United States? You’re not alone; as many as 15% percent of Americans say they want to leave the country permanently.

➤ How to Leave America: 6 Steps to Your New Life

20 Best Countries for Transgender People Who Want to Leave the U.S.

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In 2023, state legislatures have proposed 566 anti-trans bills in 49 states (all but Delaware), and legislators have also introduced at least 31 national anti-trans bills. Although 128 of those bills have already failed, 80 have passed without veto, revoking rights from transgender individuals in 22 states.

If you’re considering moving your family to a country that’s more welcoming to transgender people, travel journalists Asher & Lyric have created a guide to the best and worst countries for trans rights and ranked the United States in 40th place. Here are their top 20 countries.

20 Best Countries for Transgender People Who Want to Leave the U.S.

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Co-founder at Expatsi | + posts

Brett Andrews is the co-founder of Expatsi, a company that helps expats discover how to leave the U.S. Brett and his partner Jen developed the Expatsi Test to recommend countries to move to, based on factors like budget, visa type, spoken languages, healthcare rankings, and more. In a former life, he worked as a software developer, IT support specialist, and college educator. When he's not working, Brett loves watching comic book movies and reading unusual books.

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bed49dc5d4263d6d37b46cb09574d411?s=150&d=mp&r=g
Co-founder at Expatsi | + posts

Brett Andrews is the co-founder of Expatsi, a company that helps expats discover how to leave the U.S. Brett and his partner Jen developed the Expatsi Test to recommend countries to move to, based on factors like budget, visa type, spoken languages, healthcare rankings, and more. In a former life, he worked as a software developer, IT support specialist, and college educator. When he's not working, Brett loves watching comic book movies and reading unusual books.