Proposal Denouncing US Anti-Trans & Intersex Memo Introduced To Icelandic Parliament - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Proposal Denouncing US Anti-Trans & Intersex Memo Introduced To Icelandic Parliament

Published November 9, 2018

Andie Fontaine
Photo by
Alísa Kalyanova

A proposal has been submitted to Parliament that calls upon Iceland to take a “leadership position” when it comes to the rights of trans and intersex people, and to condemn the persecution that these people face in the United States and elsewhere.

The proposal has support from MPs from three opposition parties: the Social Democrats, the Reform Party and the Pirates. Unlike a bill, which details the implementation of policy, a proposal is more akin to a statement of principles on a given matter.

In this case, the proposal supports the “individual agency” of trans and intersex people to define their own sex. A bill supporting this is due to come from the Ministry of Social Affairs next February, and the proposal throws its support behind the bill. The proposal also recognises that Iceland still has a ways to go where the rights of trans and intersex people are concerned. Iceland currently ranks in 18th place on the Rainbow Map of ILGA-Europe, an international NGO that advocates for the rights of LGBTQIA+ people.

But the proposal also has some choice words to say about the policies of the US government.

“News has now come to light that the Trump administration is considering erasing the definition of trans people by law, and that sex will only be defined as one of two biological types that people are assigned at birth,” the proposal reads in part, referring to a memo recently issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This memo has been widely condemned by the scientific community as having no basis in scientific fact about gender and sex.

“History teaches us all that rights have to be fought for,” the proposal states. “All around the world, the rights of trans people are being trampled, and in Iceland the situation could certainly be much better, although some things have improved slightly in recent years. It is important to defend the milestones we have already reached, and to continue the struggle, in our own country and elsewhere.”

As reported, four queer rights groups in Iceland recently met with US State Department employees at the US embassy to voice their opposition to the HHS proposed change in policy. They also called upon the Icelandic government to condemn the memo, but thus far no MPs from the ruling coalition parties of the Left-Greens, the Independence Party or the Progressives have done so.

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