From Iceland — Prime Minister Submits Three Bills On Gender Determination

Prime Minister Submits Three Bills On Gender Determination

Published October 14, 2020

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir submitted three bills to Parliament yesterday, all pertaining to the gender determination act of 2019, RÚV reports.

The first bill specifically concerns intersex children. If passed, this bill would grant children born with atypical sex characteristics freedom from non-consensual and medically unnecessary surgery on their genitalia. Instead, these children would be granted the choice to determine for themselves whether or not they want such surgery, with full access to Iceland’s health care system.

The bill has already been criticised by the conservative opposition Centre Party for being “too extreme”, and yesterday, People’s Party MP Guðmundur Ingi Kristinsson criticised the bill for not including a ban on penile circumcision. A bill banning the practice was introduced by the Progressives but was ultimately defeated in 2018.

The Prime Minister argued that penile circumcision falls outside of the purview of the intersex bill; that this bill pertains solely to those born with atypical sex characteristics. She argued that children whose foreskin does cause medical difficulties would be covered by the intersex bill.

The second bill makes a number of edits to the gender determination act so as to use more gender inclusive language.

The third bill lowers the age at which an Icelander can change their legally registered gender from 18 to 15.

Protecting intersex children from non-consensual, medically unnecessary and purely cosmetic surgeries were supposed to be a part of last year’s gender determination law, but was removed in committee. As the intersex bill comes from the Prime Minister’s office, its passage is all but certain.

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