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A vote to expand the rights of transgender people and introduce a new gender identity has been unanimously passed by the Icelandic parliament. The landmark law means trans people in Iceland will no longer have to undergo an invasive medical process in order for their gender to become legally recognised (including under 18s, as long as they have the consent of a legal guardian). Trans people will also be able to receive trans-specific healthcare without having to go through a mental health assessment. Non-binary citizens, meanwhile, will be able to legally change their gender using a new third option, ‘X’.


The new law has been widely celebrated by Iceland’s LGBTI activists and, says trans campaigner Owl Fisher, “has the potential to make Iceland the world leader on LGBTI rights”. The legislation does have its shortcomings though, especially when it comes to the rights of Iceland’s intersex population. While the original bill sought to outlaw the practice of performing unnecessary cosmetic surgery on the genitalia of intersex infants, those protections did not make it into the final legislation.


A Facebook statement from activist organisation Trans Ísland reads: “While it’s definitely worth noting this important step, the goal we set out to begin with is not yet reached and it will not be reached until intersex people are given bodily integrity. The fight is therefore far from over. This is an important reminder that the fight for equality and equity is nowhere near finished and we must continue to ensure that everyone from within our community is respected, protected and valued. None of us are truly free until we are all free.”

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