We get a lot of requests from transgender travelers, and whether it is safe for them to travel around Iceland and use gendered facilities. In this short article we will discuss what you can expect when traveling in Iceland as a trans person.
Transgender rights in Iceland have progressed a lot in the past 10 years. In 2019 a new bill was passed that allows transgender people to access health care based on an informed consent model. It also allows transgender people to change their name and gender through the National Registry without a medical diagnosis. Kids under 18 can also change their name and gender with parental consent and have access to trans related health care as needed.
Iceland has always presented itself as a progressive country and many are proud of how LGBTI friendly we are as a country, so social attitudes towards LGBTI people are quite accepting and friendly in general. There are of course issues of discrimination, misgendering and misconceptions in Iceland, but as Iceland crime rates are quite low in general there is little serious crime. So living as a transgender person in Iceland is much safer than in many places around the world. In terms of gendered facilities such as swimming pools, especially in the capital area, most of them offer private, gender neutral and accessible locker rooms for people to use without any questions asked. Many transgender people have found these easier to use rather than traditionally gendered ones, as people are expected to shower naked before entering the pool. Some places will have more private showers or private cubicles within the gendered ones that are available to use. For those comfortable with using the women’s or men’s, transgender people are legally allowed to use them and some trans people actively do. For a list of trans friendly pools and facilities, see here. There are a few queer clubs and venues in Reykjavík, namely a club called Kiki Queer Bar and a new place called Curious. Most bars and clubs are queer friendly, although there have been issues with certain places downtown in the past. If you want to make sure you can party somewhere without a worry, Kiki and Curious are definitely your safest bets. As a trans traveler, you shouldn’t have to be worried about your safety. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t incidents that can occur, but most places do make an effort to make everyone feel welcome, safe and respected. If you experience misgendering or anything of the sort from hotel staff for example, explaining to them what your pronouns and title is usually an easy solution and staff have to respect your wishes. If you have any questions about your stay or want advice about specific places you’re planning to visit, don’t hesitate to get in touch. For further information about Trans-Iceland association, please visit www.trans.samtokin78.is or www.facebook.com/transisland
On behalf of the Pink Iceland team