Iceland bans 'conversion therapy' in unanimous vote

Flag of Iceland, where conversion therapy practices were recently banned.
Flag of Iceland, where conversion therapy practices were recently banned. Via Pexels - Koen Swiers

Iceland has joined the likes of Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, Spain, Germany, France, Malta, Cyprus and others, by banning so-called ‘conversion therapy’ on the basis of sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity. The Icelandic Parliament voted unanimously for the ban on Friday, June 9, with 53 representatives voting in favour and three abstentions.

Viðreisnar Parliamentary Party Chair and Reform Party MP, Hanna Katrín Friðriksson, who presented the bill, previously highlighted how conversion practices, not only in Iceland but everywhere are “based purely on ignorance and reactionary ideas” and have “no place in our society”, a statement that has now been reinforced by the fact that not a single representative voted against the bill, even after transphobic attempts to kill it. 

After posts from anti-trans accounts based in Iceland and the UK extensively celebrated false information that the bill had been dropped, Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir, a writer and expert on LGBTQ+ issues in Iceland, reported on Twitter that: “The legislation had cross party support in parliament, despite attempts from known anti-trans hate groups under English influence to oppose it, and wrongfully claiming they managed to ‘kill the bill’.

Ugla added, “Their arguments were dismissed as anti-scientific and anti-trans rhetoric.”


While conversion therapy is rare in Iceland, it has been practiced, especially by conservative Christian groups. The law’s passing means that anyone found to be making an adult go to conversion therapy now faces up to three years in prison and anyone doing the same to a child can face up to five years. People conducting these abusive and traumatising practices, in an attempt to change someone’s sexual or gender identity or gender expression, can now face up to two years in prison.

Currently ranking 90/100 in the Equaldex Global LGBTQ+ Rights Index, Iceland has recognised same-sex marriage since 2010 and implemented the right to self-identification and a third-gender option on official documents the same year. LGBTQ+ couples can are able to legally adopt and any kind of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people is illegal.  

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