From Iceland — MPs Propose Legal Changes To Help Nonbinary People

MPs Propose Legal Changes To Help Nonbinary People

Published October 14, 2022

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Timothée Lambrecq

Seven members of Parliament from the Pirate Party and the Reform Party have submitted a bill that would make a few changes to existing laws on Icelandic laws, gender registration, and the national treasury with the aim of making life easier for nonbinary people in Iceland.

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These changes include being able to change one’s name to a nonbinary form without having to change one’s legal gender marker. The changes would also allow people to have surnames outside of patronyms or matronyms, as well as some changes to laws on passports; namely, “an additional passport may be issued … to people with gender neutral registration in the National Registry. In such additional passports, regardless of the registration of gender in the National Registry, it is permitted to choose the gender registration that the holder of the passport prefers.” Such passport changes would also be free of charge.

In arguing for the need for these changes, Andrés told Vísir that some nonbinary people may wish to travel to countries where they could land in trouble for trying to enter with a passport that has a gender marker other than M or F. “So we are proposing that people who have a gender-neutral registration in the National Registry can get an extra passport where this registration is not shown, which they can present at, for example, border stations where they have reason to fear for their safety.”

It also bears mentioning that dual-nationals are already permitted to carry two passports.

When it comes to changing one’s name without changing one’s legal gender marker, Andrés sees this as allowing people to “test drive” a new name for a while before taking the step to change their legal gender. This is currently not permitted by law, but if this bill passes, it will be allowed.

Andrés believes these changes will be very meaningful for Iceland’s nonbinary population.

“On the one hand, this means that people are more free when it comes to choosing a name,” he said. “Perhaps it is especially important for individuals who are maybe taking the first steps towards gender reassignment, that they can test a new name. For some, it is also enough to not have to go all the way to change the gender registration to the National Registry. However, this is just a very simple but important safety issue for nonbinary people while traveling.”

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