We need to tell the government and parliament in Iceland it’s time to stand up for intersex people. Take action with us and sign our petition today!
An estimated 1.7% of children worldwide are born every year with variations of sex characteristics – the same proportion as those born with red hair. This simply means their biological and genetic characteristics do not totally fit the typical “male” or “female” norms. Some describe themselves as intersex, some do not.
Despite Iceland’s reputation for gender equality, individuals whose sex characteristics are perceived not to meet standards for ‘male’ and ‘female’ may be subjected to discrimination and attempts to ‘normalise’ their bodies through surgical and hormone treatment.
The lack of clear, human-rights based protocols and the lack of multidisciplinary care, combined with inadequate social support for individuals with variations in sex characteristics and their families as they navigate the health care system in Iceland, undermines their ability to access the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
Despite the trauma, stigma and resistance they face, intersex activists are fighting back not only for themselves, but for the generations to come. “I don’t want people to have to hide or be ashamed” says Kitty, founder and Chair of Intersex Iceland, “I want to see an understanding and acceptance that diversity exists and it’s good.”
Together, we can make this happen. A Bill will soon be introduced in the Icelandic Parliament, which could finally do away with outdated requirements for legal gender recognition and allow for procedures based on self-determination. However, despite the government’s own commitments, the proposed law would miss an opportunity to finally protect intersex children from harmful medical treatment.