Director of Samtökin ’78 – The National Queer Organisation of Iceland Þorbjörg Þorvaldsdóttir highly doubts that a new platform for gay and bisexual people, LGB-teymið or the LGB alliance, will gain a foothold in Iceland, Vísir reports. While the organisation’s stated goal whose is to “shift focus” in the debate on sexual orientation and to safeguard freedom of expression, their emphasis on the exclusion of trans people, biological sex and that sex is binary but not a spectrum has resulted in criticism on the grounds of transphobia.
The founders of the LGB Alliance mean for it to be a platform for debate for gay and bisexual people. Iva Marín Adrichem is one of the founders, and she describes it as a “liberal, open and democratic debate platform” in an article in Mannlíf.
“My opinion is that the people who speak the loudest about diversity don’t appreciate diversity unless it’s in the context of innate or outward characteristics such as sex, sexual orientation, disabilities, skin colour and so on. Diversity in thought, political stance, and lifestyle is severely lacking; and I don’t believe the “queer community” wants to celebrate it,” states Iva Marín. She believes that diversity of thought was sacrificed in favour of “opinion oppression” by the hands of a vocal minority.
The newly formed debate platform has a connection to the British LGB Alliance, Stundin reports, which a group of gay and bisexual people founded because of their displeasure with a positive attitude towards trans people within the Stonewall organisation. The Icelandic LGB Alliance’s Facebook page contains images from the British LGB Alliance.
Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir, the director of Trans Iceland, discussed the new platform with Stundin newspaper, stating that the group was founded to influence the rights of trans people negatively and to import a transphobic discourse to Iceland. She, like Þorbjörg, does not think it likely that the group will gain a foothold within Iceland’s LGBT+ community.
“Iceland’s LGBT+ community is much more close-knit than in the UK where the discourse is very hostile and difficult towards trans people. I don’t think people care much for such nonsense being imported, they can see through it,” Ugla told Stundin.
Þorbjörg told Vísir a similar story and does not believe the group will inspire a broader movement here. As far as she can gather, there are only four people in the alliance. She does worry that its creation might have negative connotations. “I can’t speak for trans people and their experience of course, but the public discourse has been acrimonious of late,” says Þorbjörg. She says it’s a sad development that’s been happening abroad, but luckily, that hasn’t been as apparent here. “We need to look out for such a discussion because ultimately, it has an effect. I think people should think before expressing such opinions because there are people behind it.”
Icelanders took to social media to discuss the LGB Alliance. LGBT+ people have declared their worries that the alliance’s message will lead to increased vitriol towards trans people, and their struggle for rights will be undermined. Many have criticised the alliance, calling it a far cry from the truth that they are advocation freedom of expression. “it’s so incredibly evil to found an anti-trans movement. This poor excuse that the LGB Alliance is about freedom of expression is so paper-thin that every human being who isn’t a transphobe can see through it,” one Icelander wrote on twitter. “We can’t afford this way of thinking to put down roots,” said another.