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LGBTI affairs

Equal Status and Equal Rights Irrespective of Gender

All forms of discrimination, direct or indirect, on grounds of gender, are prohibited by the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights Irrespective of Gender no. 150/2020. The term “gender” in this Act means women, men and persons whose gender is registered as neutral in Registers Iceland in line with the the Act on Gender Autonomy No. 80/2019. 

Gender Autonomy

Important reforms were made for LGBTI persons when the Act on Gender Autonomy No. 80/2019 was adopted by Althingi in 2019 as it manifested the right to define one’s gender, neutral gender registration and physical integrity.

The Act defines gender as a collective term, including, inter alia, sex characteristics, gender, gender identity and gender expression.

Right to Neutral Gender Registration

Every person, from the age of 15, has the right to change their gender registration in Registers Iceland. A child under the age of 15 may, with the assistance of its guardians, change its official gender registration. A child that does not have the support of one or both of its guardians in changing its gender registration may submit a request for a change of registered gender to an expert committee and have the registration changed if the committee accepts the request. The Act requires public and private bodies that register gender shall provide for the possibility of registering gender as neutral, inter alia in identity documents, forms and databases.

Right to Physical Integrity

Permanent changes to genitals, gonads or other sex characteristics of persons 16 years of age or older are prohibited without their written consent. Furthermore, in cases involving children aged between 16 and 18, an assessment is needed from the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Department team on gender identity pursuant to Article 13 of the Act, to confirm that it is in the best interests of the child to perform the surgical operation.

Children born with atypical sex characteristics shall have the right to physical integrity in relation to their sex characteristics and the right to receive the best health care available at any given time. In implementing the Act, care shall be taken to respect their right to self-determination regarding personal matters

Permanent changes to the sex characteristics of a child born with atypical sex characteristics shall only be made in conformity with the will of the child.

If a child under the age of 16 is unable to give its consent due to its young age or is for other reasons unable to express its will, the child’s sex characteristics may be changed if so required for health reasons, following a detailed assessment of the need for such changes and of their consequences in the short and long term. Social, psychosocial and appearance related reasons shall not be regarded as health reasons.

Education and consultation in LGBTI affairs

The Prime Minister’s Office has made a cooperation agreement with Samtökin ‘78 – the National Queer Association of Iceland until 2024. Samtökin ‘78 offers education and consultation regarding LGBTI affairs to LGBTI persons and their relatives as well as professionals in public services with the aim to promote a LGBTI friendly society.

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