Iceland Rises Four Places in Rainbow Europe Rankings Skip to content
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Photo: Golli. Rainbow flags are flown in Reykjavík during US Vice President Mike Pence’s visit, 2019.

Iceland Rises Four Places in Rainbow Europe Rankings

Iceland ranked 14th of 49 European countries when it came to ensuring LGBTI rights according to the 2020 Rainbow Europe ranking. This is four seats higher than the country’s 2019 ranking. Of the six rights categories evaluated, Iceland received the highest score in civil society space (100%) and family (83%) and lowest in the categories of asylum (17%) and hate speech (26%).

The rankings are released yearly by ILGA Europe, the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. Iceland’s new Gender Autonomy Act, adopted last June, was credited toward improving the country’s standing despite the fact that it “falls short of protecting intersex people,” ILGA stated in its chapter on Iceland.

While Iceland’s overall score of 54% is higher than the EU average of 48%, it is the lowest score of the Nordic countries. Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland all scored between 63-68%, among the top ten European countries.

Room for improvement

In order to further improve the legal and policy situation of LGBTI people in Iceland, ILGA-Europe recommended several actions. These included express mention of sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics in policies designed to tackle hate crime, prohibiting medical intervention on intersex minors when the intervention has no medical necessity, and introducing laws on asylum that contain express mention of sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.

Iceland Review discussed the Gender Autonomy Act with one of its main authors, trans rights activist Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir.

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