Iceland passed a law on Tuesday (18 June) making it easier for transgender and non-binary individuals to change their personal identification.
The Icelandic Parliament passed the Gender Autonomy Act. This allows people to change their gender and offers a non-binary ‘x’ option.
Prior to this law, transgender and non-binary people had to undergo a lengthy diagnostic process. They also had to undergo various medical treatments.
People can now change their gender in the official registry based on their own autonomy and identitty.
The bill also allows individuals under 18 to officially change their name and gender with parental consent. If parental consent is not available, a minor can still make the change with the approval of an expert panel.
‘The bill aims to respect and strengthen the self-determination of each individual as their own understanding of gender identity is the basis for decision-making regarding their public [gender] registration, as others are not better suited for this,’ stated a government press release.
‘The Act is also intended to safeguard the individual’s right to bodily autonomy and a working group will be appointed to ensure the legal status of children born with atypical sex characteristics.’
Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir also praised the law.
‘In order to truly improve people’s rights, political courage and political will are needed,’ she said. ‘With the passing of these laws Iceland puts itself in the forefront internationally.’
Still a ways to go on intersex rights in Iceland
Trans rights activist Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir helped draft the bill. Originally, it had language protecting intersex children and banning unnecessary surgeries.
This was taken out of the final bill, and placed into a committee to be furthered considered.
‘While there are a lot of rights that this law did in fact ensure, there were a few things that were chipped out of the law. Perhaps the most disappointing part was that forced and uncessary interventions on intersex infants were not banned, but the issue was placed into a committee that will look into the matter further and come to a resolution within a years time,’ Jónsdóttir wrote on Facebook.
‘While it’s definitely a good thing it wasn’t entirely taken out, it is in my opinion a waste of time and resources to continue to debate this, as people’s bodily integrity needs to be ensured as soon as possible.
‘I therefore hope that the committee that will continue to discuss this,’ Jónsdóttir continued. ‘These interventions cannot continue.’