Iceland’s Gender Autonomy Act is a Step Forward for Trans and Intersex Rights

An article on the Iceland review released on Wednesday inspires confidence in Iceland’s legislative commitment to protecting the rights of citizen identity and personal autonomy. The bill would ensure that surgery and gender reassignment would be outlawed until a point where an intersex child is old enough to make their own decision.

Whilst the bill to prevent infant male circumcision seems to have dropped off the radar for the time being, this new piece of legislation shows Iceland’s conscientiousness and sympathy to the rights of children and to citizens who do not have a rigid identity structure or may wish to make their own decisions on it when they reach an age of maturity.

Trans people in Iceland will now be able to change their official gender according to their lived experience, and register as neither male not female (denoted with an “x” on documents). The Icelandic Parliament passed a Gender Autonomy Act yesterday that is a big step forward when it comes to trans and intersex people’s rights in the country.

The bill confirms the right of the individual to change their gender in the official registry in accordance with their own experience and without having to meet conditions for diagnosis or medical treatment. The Act also ensures that children under the age of 18 can change their registered gender and name in the National Registry with the consent of their parents. If parents’ consent is not available, the decision is put before an expert committee.

“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,” reads 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.”

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