In Iceland, the rights of the individual are protected in the country’s constitution. Discrimination is prohibited by Article 65 of the Constitution, which stipulates clearly that everyone is to be equal before the law and enjoy their human rights regardless of “sex, religion, opinion, national origin, race, colour, property, birth or other status”. By Icelandic law, it is a punishable crime to deny people goods or services, as is attacking them publicly with ridicule, slander, insults, or threats because of their sexual orientation. Iceland is a party to the European Convention on Human Rights and respects therewith the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Transgenders’ legal status
The legal status of transgender people in Iceland is unclear as, there is no specific legislation on the issue. The status of persons wishing to change their sex is particularly unclear, and transsexuals cannot change their name unless they have undergone surgery to correct their sex.
Being open about your sexual orientation (in your school or workplace, for example) is not usually a problem for anyone in Iceland. If you run into difficulties or encounter hostility because of your sexual orientation, it’s important that you exercise your rights and seek assistance immediately. Discrimination, violence or bashing of any kind should never be tolerated or ignored. Contact Samtökin ‘78 (tel. 552-7878) if you need help or advice on where to go.
Want to know more? www.island.is, www.samtokin78.is