The Icelandic government has signed an agreement with Samtökin ’78, Iceland’s LGBTQ Association, earmarking ISK 15 million [$124,709; €109,968] for expanded education, services, and consulting related to LGBTQ issues. Vísir reports that the agreement, which will be in effect for one year starting February 15, was signed on Thursday by Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Samtökin’s chair, María Helga Guðmundsdóttir.
Samtökin’s ‘78’s funding has been increased from the ISK 12 million [$99,767; €87,974] it received in 2018. (That year, its funding was actually doubled from what it received in 2017.) The new agreement stipulates that Samtökin’s funded projects will be carried out in close collaboration with the Prime Minister’s Office of Equal Rights. At the same time it announced its agreement with Samtökin ’78, the government also announced a similar arrangement with the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association, which will receive state funding in the amount of ISK 10 million [$83,139; €73,312] in the coming year.
The additional funding to Samtökin ’78 is intended to promote an LGBTQ-friendly society and increase the visibility of the LGBTQ population in Iceland. Funded services will be aimed at people in the LGBTQ community and their loved ones, as well as public service professionals, i.e. people working in the government and schools.
Under the terms of the agreement, Samtökin ’78 will be responsible for yearly meetings with educators who teach gender, equality, and LGBTQ studies at all levels; annual meetings with elected officials and public policy experts who are working on equality and LGBTQ issues; establishing international collaborations with sister organizations in the Nordic countries; and participation in the annual Congress on Gender.
The Icelandic government has placed a great deal of emphasis on equality issues and per its policy statement, aims to ensure that Iceland is on the vanguard of LGBTQ issues. The Prime Minister’s Office is currently working on a number of policies related to LGBTQ issues, including a pending bill on sexual autonomy.