Could Norway follow Sweden’s lead and introduce a third gender?

Could Norway follow Sweden’s lead and introduce a third gender?
The leader of Labor’s youth wing said that Norwegians should be able to identify themselves whoever they want in their passports and other official documents. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / SCANPIX
Norway’s Labour Party, the largest party in parliament, will consider backing the introduction of a third gender, broadcaster NRK reported.
Labour’s programme committee will debate the introduction of the third gender category so that Norwegians would no longer need to define themselves as male or female in their passports and other official documents.
Labour’s draft party programme for 2017-2021 states that the party “shall consider the introduction of a third gender category”.
Although the proposal is only under the early stages of consideration, Labour committee member Mani Hussaini suggested that Norway should follow the lead of neighbouring Sweden, which adopted the gender neutral pronoun ‘hen’ into official use in April 2015.
Hussaini, who is the leader of Labour’s youth wing AUF, said ‘hen’ could also be used in Norwegian as a gender-neutral alternative to ‘han’ (he) and ‘hun’.
“I believe that all people should be allowing to live out their identity and thus the law should adapt to reality rather than the other way around,” Hussaini said.
“I think that for example in the passport it could show that one is neither male nor female, but belongs to a third gender category, thus a ‘hen’,” he added.
The idea of a ‘hen’ is not entirely new to Norway. The social-liberal party Venstre proposed the introduction of a third gender in April 2016 but it failed to gain traction.
Likewise, Sweden’s adoption of ‘hen’ has not been without controversy. The pronoun sparked massive debate in 2012 when a publisher decided to use it in a children’s book. But others argued that ‘hen’ is not meant to replace gendered pronouns. Instead, it allows speakers to refer to a person without having to mention the gender if they don’t know it, if the person is transgender, or if the information is considered irrelevant.
Ultimately, the Swedish Academy agreed to include ‘hen’ in its official dictionary, Svenska Akademiens ordlista, in 2015.
The Local

Norway man in hospital after Pokémon brawl

Norway man in hospital after Pokémon brawl
A man in Norway has been hospitalised after a quarrel broke out over the augmented reality phone game Pokémon Go in the latest indication of the hit game’s unexpected risks.
The man, who is in his 40s, was rushed to hospital in the early hours of Friday morning from a popular park in Sandefjord after the man he was arguing drew blood with a blow to the head after a heated exchange about the game.
The man who assaulted him was on Friday morning still being held by police in custody. Police would not confirm if either man had been intoxicated at the time of the quarrel.
“I do not understand why men in their 40s would arguing over a mobile phone game,”  Merete Kvaal from the local Vestfold Police told Verdens Gång newspaper.
The game, which combines GPS positioning with 3D graphics to allow police to hunt little virtual monsters arouhd the real world, has become such a sensation in Norway that VG has launched a dedicated Pokémon Go studio, featuring real-time coverage of all Pokémon-related news worldwide.
It has sent players exploring in little visited areas all over the world, leading to the discovery of corpses in Denmark and the US.
But the roaming has also led to a spate of injuries, with around two people daily coming to the emergency ward with Pokémon-related injuries in Oslo alone.
In Denmark on Thursday a 21-year-old Pokémon hunter was killed when he was run over by a delivery vehicle while the app was running on his phone.