Last Friday, police reported that someone had requested police help after being assaulted by two men. The target of the assault was taken to hospital with some injuries, with police saying the person was attacked due to their gender expression, and that police considered the assault a hate crime.
As it turns out, Vísir reports, the survivor is trans woman Candice Aþena Jónsdóttir, who told reporters that she was walking in Árbær, east of Reykjavík, when she was approached by two men. They soon became verbally abusive, and when she objected to the way they were talking to her, they became angry. After trying to walk away from the men, they chased her, with one of them attempting to kick her in the face.
She managed to get away, with some injuries to her hand, and called the police, but by the time they arrived the attackers were long gone. Police are still searching for the suspects.
Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir (shown above), a trans activist and chairperson of Trans Ísland, told reporters that this is not an isolated incident. In fact, they said, they know of at least two other incidences of transphobic attacks in Iceland.
“We’re seeing this everywhere in the world, not least of all with certain political movements that are actually on the rise,” they said. “These are political movements who are pushing back against human rights in general, and naturally trans people are one of the groups who have been under attack.”
Ugla says that this reality makes it especially important that Iceland not narrow its legal definition of hate speech, as former Minister of Justice Sigríður Á Andersen proposed, and that Parliament expedites the passage of a bill on gender identity and expression, which has yet to be brought to a vote.
“This is because the bill on gender identity and expression would in itself be a big step in the fight for the rights of trans and intersex people in the world,” they told reporters. “This is our lives we’re talking about so of course we should be able to do something about this.”
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