In a massive win for LGBTQ+ rights, Iceland has become the latest country to ban ‘conversion therapy’.
The Icelandic parliament unanimously approved a comprehensive ban with 53 votes and three abstentions, prohibiting the harmful practice on the basis on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
Iceland joins countries such as Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, Ecuador, Spain, Germany, France, Malta and Cyprus, among others.
The passing of the law now means that anyone making an adult undergo ‘conversion therapy’ faces up to three years in prison and anyone doing the same to a child will face five years.
Those who administer ‘conversion therapy’ could face up to two years in prison.
‘Conversion therapy’ is typically defined as any attempt at changing or suppressing a person’s sexuality or gender identity, often involving techniques such as electroshock therapy or prayer.
It has been widely condemned by health experts and bodies all over the world, including the National Health Service and the World Health Organisation, with some comparing it to torture.
Samtökin ’78, an Icelandic LGBTQ and intersex rights group, said in a statement: “This is a really important issue for all gay people and a step worth celebrating There is no cure for being gay and any attempt to do so is violence.
“It’s so good that the government recognizes it with legislation.”
Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir, an Icelandic journalist and non-binary/trans activist, tweeted that the legislation had “cross party support in parliament” despite attempts from “known anti-trans hate groups under English influence to oppose it”.
The legislation had cross party support in parliament, despite attempts from known anti-trans hates groups under English influence to oppose it, and wrongfully claiming they managed to 'kill the bill'. Their arguments were dismissed as anti-scientific and anti-trans rhetoric.
— Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir (@UglaStefania) June 9, 2023
Ugla added that the aforementioned groups ‘wrongfully claimed’ they managed to ‘kill the bill’: “Their arguments were dismissed as anti-scientific and anti-trans rhetoric.”
Iceland is currently ranked as one of the most progressive countries in the world with 90/100 in the Equaldex Global LGBTQ+ Rights Index.
The country has recognised same-sex marriage since 2010 while citizens have the right to self-identification and a third-gender option. Additionally, anti-discrimination laws against all members of the LGBTQ+ community is illegal.