A book about the first publicly trans woman in Iceland

Anna Kristjánsdóttir is a legend in Iceland. She was the first trans woman to talk about her gender correction in the local media and was for decades very visual in the fight for equal rights for trans people. Anna has blogged about her experience as a trans woman for years but now – finally – her story has been made into a book ,’Anna – as I am’ (Anna – eins og ég er) which has just been released.

Anna Kristjánsdóttir was the first trans woman come out with her story in the local media in Iceland and was for decades very visual in the fight for equal rights for trans people. A book detailing her story is now out. Photo/Sigurður Kaiser.

GayIceland contacted Anna to ask about the book and the first question was what she meant by the statement that in the book she was coming to terms with the past – not the present.
“I’m dealing with a difficult childhood and youth as well as the first years after I moved back to Iceland after the gender correction process in Sweden. Apart from that it’s just like any other biography. It’s not a detailed description of every ship I’ve worked on or every day I’ve gone through, it’s more an index of my life. There are a lot of things unsaid in this book, which some people might think should be there, but lot’s of talk about other issues that others might find unnecessary to talk about.”

Do you think there is something in the book that will surprise people, especially the people who know a bit of your story?
“I really can’t imagine anyone will be surprised. I’ve always been a fairly open person and never been afraid of speaking out about both people and subjects. Here on the other hand my life is gathered in one book instead of appearing in my blog or on Facebook.”

“There was no support. Rather the opposite if anything, since trans people were perceived as some kind of freaks. Most people had no idea what being trans meant and were afraid of ‘the unknown’.”

It’s been 23 years since you first appeared to the nation, as the first trans woman to go public, in an interview published in the magazine New Life (Nýtt líf) in 1994 and caused quite a stir. Since then you have in interviews described the prejudice that you experienced in Iceland as a result of that interview. Why did you decide to deal with the past now?
“I was actually not the first Icelandic trans woman. I was, on the other hand, the first trans woman in Iceland to go public and talk about my experience. Now I’m old enough so it’s less likely that my experience, my story, will hinder me from getting a job, for example.”

But talking about the past, what was it like to be a trans woman in Iceland in 1994? For example, did the public know anything about trans issues? What was the health system like when it came to them? What was the general attitude towards trans people like?
“In 1994 I actually lived in Sweden and had been living there since 1989. At that time I did not have another choice than to move abroad if I wanted to undergo the gender correction process. Both Norway and Denmark declined my application to start with, partly because of very strict limitations for going through the process.

The public in Iceland did neither know nor understand trans issues at that time and the same goes for the health system, with the exception of a few individuals within it.”

Anna back in the nineties.

Was there any trans community in Iceland at that time?
“No, there was no trans community in Iceland before I moved abroad in 1989. Our best ally, if you can call it that, was The National Queer Organisation, Samtökin ’78, that had been founded a few years before. But gay people had enough to deal with fighting for their own rights at the same time. Many gay people within Samtökin ’78 were very supportive of me personally and it was there that I first peeped out of the closet in 1984, but it was only a little peep as the prejudice against gay people was fierce and I did not have the guts to see how prejudiced people would be against trans people. So I didn’t dare to come out in Iceland at that time.”

When you moved back home to Iceland from Sweden in 1996 after the gender correction was there a huge difference in the attitude and understanding of Icelanders?
“There was huge difference between those two countries. Within the health system in Iceland there was hardly any understanding of trans issues and some of the psychiatrists wanted to lock me up when I asked them for help. It was not until the psychologist Sölvína Konráðs contacted more open-minded psychiatrists that things started moving in Iceland, but never enough to affect the health system.

In Sweden on the other hand there were several teams to help trans people within the health system but the system moved very slowly and there were really few people who were allowed undergo the gender correction process.”

Anna is a member of the ICE-SAR, Icelandic Association For Search and Rescue. Here she is with the President of Iceland, mr. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, on the annual 112 day.

For many years, you were the front-person in the fight for equal rights for trans people. What were the biggest issues you had to fight for?
“To say that I was a front-person for equal rights for trans people in Iceland is hardly right. It was more like I was ‘the only trans in the village’ after I moved back home in 1996. There were very few of us and most of the people were in hiding or at least not willing to be in the spotlight.

What were the biggest issues trans people had face? Well, almost everything. No one had gone through the gender correction process. There was no support. Rather the opposite if anything, since trans people were perceived as some kind of freaks. Most people had no idea what being trans meant and were afraid of ‘the unknown’.”

It must have been difficult, did you ever consider moving back to Sweden?
“Yes, I almost moved back there a few weeks after I moved home in the summer of 1996, as I did not seem to be able to get a break anywhere, no work and no unemployment benefits, even though I had paid to their fund for many years before I moved to Sweden.
Finally I was offered a temporary position on a trawler in the Eastfjords and after that I was accepted again in the Icelandic job market.”

Anna and her son and grand child.

“Within the health system in Iceland there was hardly any understanding of trans issues and some of the psychiatrists wanted to lock me up when I asked them for help.”

When did things start to move in the right direction here in Iceland? Was there any specific turning point?
“It’s not possible to be the only person fighting for a cause. One person fighting injustice is like being the voice of one calling in the desert and the results mirror that. It was not until Anna Jonna came to Iceland in 2005 and started going public that things started moving. Then other people followed and that made the fight easier.”

You were one of the people who founded Trans-Iceland in 2007. Are you still active in the fight for equal rights?
“With the founding of the association and new people on the board there was less need for me to be active. I was though on the board of Transgender Europe until 2008 and reviewed their accounts til 2012 when I formally stopped taking part in the fight for trans rights. I have been a part of some of their activities since then but never as a member of the board.”

The cover of the book about Anna.

What would you say are the most urgent trans issues to fight for in Iceland today?
“It’s not my place to decide what it’s necessary to do next. Let the young people decide that. I have no intention to run the campaign from behind the curtains. I decided not to be on the board of Trans Iceland when it was founded, so it would not be possible to put an equal sign between the campaign of trans people and my person.”

You said in an interview a few years back that you had written a book about your experience as a trans person but nobody wanted to publish it, what changed?
“I had written a few points down a long time ago, but soon realised that I was not critical enough of myself to be able to write an autobiography. Sometimes I was contacted by someone who wanted to write my story, but two things prevented that from happening. I am a very stubborn person and difficult to be around and besides that nobody was interested in publishing such a book, so my story was hidden in a drawer for several years. It was not until late last winter that the publishing company Hólar contacted the well-known journalist Guðríður Haraldsdóttir and asked her to write my story that it finally happened, and now the book has been released.”

Photos: Courtesy of Anna Kristjánsdóttir.

Á. Óskarsson
Á. Óskarsson

Á. Óskarsson offers a variety of products and services to sports centers, swimming pools, schools, kindergartens, and the general public. The company specializes in sport-related products, activity-focused games, and a wide range of solutions for sports facilities.

Á. Óskarsson has been involved in numerous big projects related to building sports facilities and has made it their benchmark to offer good quality products and equipment since the company was founded.

See links to social media in the upper left-hand corner


Á. Óskarsson selur fjölbreytt vöruúrval fyrir íþróttahús, sundlaugar, skóla og leikskóla og einnig ýmsar vörur til einkaafnota. Fyrirtækið selur vörur til íþróttaiðkunnar og leikja ásamt því að bjóða upp á ýmsar lausnir fyrir íþróttamannvirki.

Á. Óskarsson hefur komið að fjölda stórra verkefna við byggingu íþróttamannvirkja og hefur frá stofnun kappkostað að bjóða vandaðar og endingargóðar vörur.

Tenglar á samfélagsmiðla eru í efra horninu vinstra megin.



    Blush was founded in 2011 when it started selling high quality sex products. The goal from the beginning was to change the market and take the discussion about sex products to a higher level. Today Blush provides professional services in a pleasant environment that fulfills different needs, both for individuals and couples. Blush respects diversity and wants to set a good example in all of its messaging to target audiences. Sexual health and equality in sex is important and Blush wants to focus on those issues through education and open discussion. Blush works in a socially responsible manner for society, their customers and the environment.

    Check out Blush’s website: https://blush.is/

    Omnom Chocolate
    - award-winning chocolate maker

      Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

      Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

      Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

      In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

      At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.




        Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) is a global technology company serving the capital markets and other industries. Our diverse offering of data, analytics, software and services enables clients to optimize and execute their business vision with confidence.

        With over 4,300 employees in 39 offices around the world, at Nasdaq we all contribute to the success of the company and its culture, and each one of us has the ability to make a difference. When it comes to our core mission and values, we embrace the role of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) as a fundamental driver of our corporate growth, workplace culture and market development. We strive to create a culture that embraces the power of different perspectives—a culture where people’s unique backgrounds and different experiences helps us fuel innovation and support our clients around the world.

        Our unique position at the center of the capital markets allows us to see firsthand how these values have redefined corporate culture and success, deepening and accelerating our own commitment to champion inclusive growth and prosperity, as we strive to create more equitable opportunities to help people of all backgrounds reach their full potential. Most notably, we published our diversity statistics for the first time in 2020. These metrics serve as a quantitative assessment of where we are today and help determine what strategies we need to adopt to enhance diversity in the workplace. We recognize that we have much work to do, but we are steadfast in our commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive culture—one that reflects the communities in which we live, allows all employees to be their true, authentic selves and fosters individual growth and achievement.

        As we move forward together, we will continue advancing diverse ideas and perspectives that help fulfill the promise of a more inclusive and prosperous world. We aim to set the pace for rethinking capital markets and economies anywhere and everywhere. To learn more about the company, technology solutions and career opportunities, visit us on LinkedIn, on Twitter @Nasdaq, or at www.nasdaq.com.

        Blue Lagoon
        - One of the 25 Wonders of the World

        Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater
        comes from 2.000 meters within the earth where seawater and freshwater converge in a tectonic realm of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals—the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

        From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing two hotels, three restaurants, three
        geothermal lagoons, a subterranean spa, a renowned line of skin care, a thriving research center, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

        Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

        The Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

        - leading financial institution

        Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

        The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

        Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

        The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

        Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

        Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

        It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

        Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

        - get inspired

        Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

        Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

        More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

        VSÓ Ráðgjöf


          VSÓ Ráðgjöf er alhliða ráðgjafar- og verkfræðifyrirtæki sem leggur áherslu á trausta og faglega þjónustu sem tryggir viðskiptavinum hagkvæmustu lausnir hverju sinni, skilar raunverulegum árangri og stuðlar að samkeppnisforskoti.  Á skrifstofum VSÓ í Reykjavík og í Noregi starfar yfir 80 manna samhentur hópur verkfræðinga og annarra tæknimenntaðra starfsmanna.

          - for all your Apple needs

          From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

          Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
          For all your Apple needs. We are here.

          Ísey skyr
          - once tasted never forgotten

          Our Story
          Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

          For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

          Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
          This is our secret and you are in on it

          You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

          Contact Us

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