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Iceland bans so-called ‘conversion therapy’ in unanimous vote 

The European nation is regarded as one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly countries in the world

By Charlotte Manning

Iceland flag
Iceland passed the new law on Friday, June 9 (Image: Unsplash)

The Icelandic Parliament has voted for a ban on so-called conversion therapy.

The decision, which took place on Friday (June 9), was unanimous. There were 53 representatives who voted in favour of the ban, with three abstentions and none against. 

The bill was put forward by Viðreisnar parliamentary party chair and Reform Party MP Hanna Katrín Friðriksson.

It bans so-called conversion therapy on the basis of sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity.

“It’s an important reminder that progress can still be made amidst rising anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric and legislations”

She previously said that it “is far from being supported by scientific study, and is simply ethically wrong. No matter how you look at it.”

Friðriksson added: “Conversion therapy has caused countless harmful effects, both in physical and mental health, on people who have been forced to undergo it.”

Icelandic journalist, author and trans advocate Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir gave a passionate response to the news.

Ugla said the law was passed “despite attempts from known anti-trans hates groups under English influence to oppose it, and wrongfully claiming they managed to ‘kill the bill’.”

She added: “Their arguments were dismissed as anti-scientific and anti-trans rhetoric.”

This was in response to posts from anti-trans accounts based in Iceland and the UK. Some wrongly celebrated that the bill had been dropped. 

“It is simply ethically wrong, no matter how you look at it”

Ugla went on to thank everyone who “pushed this important legislation forward” in a follow up tweet. 

“It’s an important reminder that progress can still be made amidst rising anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric and legislations, and the rights and liberty of LGBTQIA+ people need to be secured and protected.

Iceland joins the likes of Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, Spain, Germany, France, Malta, Cyprus, where it has already been banned. 

The new law means that anyone found to making an adult go to so-called conversion therapy can face up to three years in prison. This goes up to five years if it’s a child. 

The nation is currently ranking 90/100 in the Equaldex Global LGBTQ+ Rights Index. Iceland has recognised same-sex marriage since 2010.

Elsewhere, the country implemented the right for citizens to self-identify or use a third-gender option on official documents the same year.