The goal is to put Iceland at the top of the rainbow map

The association Trans Iceland was founded ten years ago and has since fought for the rights of Icelandic trans people and been a platform for many of the reforms of trans rights in Iceland. We asked the chair of Trans Iceland, Alda Villiljós, a few questions about the anniversary and the association. Our first question was, obviously, how it felt to be celebrating ten years of going strong.

Alda Villiljós is the current chair of Trans Iceland, an association that is celebrating its  10 year anniversary. Photo/Villiljós Visual Art

“We are of course very excited!” Alda exclaims. “Ten years is a huge milestone for an association like ours and I feel like we’ve come so far in a fairly short amount of time.”

Not everyone knows what Trans Iceland is and how it works, can you tell us a little about your association and what it has accomplished in those ten years?

“Trans Iceland is an organisation run by trans people for trans people – including non-binary people – and our loved ones. We have two main goals: to be a social hub for trans people and to provide a safe space where we can come together, talk, get and give advice and support each other; and on the other hand, to fight for legal and social rights for trans people in Iceland as well as support other organisations fighting for rights of trans people abroad.
A large part of our work is answering messages and requests both from trans people as well as family and friends of trans people seeking advice. To be fair, I didn’t even realise how huge a part that is when I first came on to the board last year! Even though we live in a pretty progressive society and many, even most people, wouldn’t react badly to someone coming out to them as trans, trans people are still scared of coming out and contact us for social support, as well as medical and legal advice.

“… a team of people has been working on an amendment for the past two years … if it gets passed as is, it will be the most progressive law regarding the rights of trans and intersex people in the world.”

It’s all about the norms – from birth, we are fed stories that largely feature heroes and protagonists who fit a certain norm: they’re cis (ie. not trans), heterosexual, predominantly white, able-bodied and monogamous. Girls fall in love with boys, boys are strong and love sports, girls play with dolls and want to have children, etc. Anything that deviates from this norm becomes abnormal in our heads and so, when we realise that we ourselves don’t fall into this normal box, we get scared of being treated as outcasts, as abnormal or even outright dangerous by others. A lot of media for children only features queer characteristics as part of the villains, it’s a phenomenon called “queer coding” and it’s something that’s still being done. I think that when we have a majority in media of positive representation of trans and queer characters – as well as other minority groups – then we can finally start seeing a society where coming out isn’t a big deal for us.”

Trans Iceland has also fought for basic human rights for trans people, can you tell us what has been accomplished in that regard?

In the last years Trans Iceland has released a calendar and two highly successful videos.

“Throughout the years, Trans Iceland has had very different emphasis depending on what the community needs most. For the first few years, the emphasis was mainly on the social factor and there would be regular meet-ups where people would simply come to hang out and get advice from others. In the last few years, we’ve started seeing less and less people coming to the social events, even though more people than ever are coming out. Partly I think this is because more and more trans people are realising who they are and coming out when they are very young, and I know Samtökin ’78’s youth group is an excellent place to come out in, so younger people are using that venue more. I hope that part of the reason is also that young people are less prejudiced in general, so that young trans kids coming out are able to simply stay with their class and their usual friends group without being ostracised and thereby not feeling the need for a trans exclusive environment.”

Does the law protect the rights of trans and non-binary people now?

“There is some legal protection for trans people, but we still have a long way to go. In 2012, a law regarding the rights of people with gender identity disorder was added and in 2014, the penal code was changed and “gender identity” was added to the list of reasons for discrimination. The 2012 law has been outdated pretty much since it was added. For example, it explicitly says that in order to have access to medical transition, you have to have known that you were in the wrong body since you were a child and have a desire to be the “opposite sex”. Just this definition at the start of the law is hugely problematic, immediately erasing non-binary people as well as binary trans people who may not feel like they are in the wrong body, or have only recently started to feel like something was wrong. Although many trans people do know from a young age that something didn’t quite fit within them, many trans people do not. But because we generally don’t get medical help unless we tell that story, many of us lie and say that we’ve always felt this way, simply to get through the system quicker, and thereby further sustaining that story.

Another problem with the legal system here in Iceland is the naming committee. In order to change your name legally, your chosen name must be one that has been accepted by the naming committee. Furthermore, in order to change your name from a “male” name to a “female” name and vice versa, you must first have gone through at least 18 months of transition with the medical team. Then you can apply to have your gender legally changed in the national registry, and only when that has been accepted, you must (yes, must) change your name to an accepted “female” name. This means that if you don’t want to medically transition, you won’t be able to change your name legally, not to mention the long wait after you’ve started transitioning to, for example, get ID that matches the way you express yourself.”

What about the health system’s treatment of trans people? Has that changed significantly in those ten years?

“As it is now, the law prevents non-binary people from medically transitioning.

Of course, it’s great to have some legal recognition and I know it’s better than what many other countries have. The 2014 change to the penal code was a great addition – although I’m personally hoping for a change that adds gender expression to the list!

“The internet has been a great boom for the trans community, and I think in the last couple of years, we’ve really just exploded with all of the thoughts, viewpoints and arguments that we’ve been repressing for so many years.”

We can always do better though, and that is shown best by how far we’ve dropped in the last year on the ILGA Rainbow Europe map. Thankfully, a team of people including trans and intersex individuals has been working on an amendment for the past two years or so which is in large part based on the law that was passed in Malta in 2015 – a law that shot Malta right to the top of the ILGA Rainbow Europe map. We’re hoping it will be presented to the parliament in the next year and if it gets passed as is, it will be the most progressive law regarding the rights of trans and intersex people in the world – and will secure us a certain spot on the top of the ILGA Rainbow Europe map!”

What are the biggest achievments of your association in those ten years, and what will be your main focus in the next few years?

“Many things have changed for trans people in the last ten years. In fact, one of the more difficult things in creating a truly equal law amendment has been the fact that the discourse and language around us, our preferences and our rights, has changed so fast in the last couple of years that even I am not always a hundred percent sure I’m not being offensive by using a certain word or spelling! The internet has been a great boom for the trans community, and I think in the last couple of years, we’ve really just exploded with all of the thoughts, viewpoints and arguments that we’ve been repressing for so many years and that’s partly why things change so fast within the community. It’s also just very hard trying to talk about something as massive and complex as gender without getting a few things wrong!

We live and learn though, and since the discourse around non-binary genders started properly in Iceland a couple of years ago, Trans Iceland has been inclusive and supportive of all gender identities and expression. Our focus now is mostly on making trans people, our issues and our various ways of expressing gender, more visible and I think that has been very successful. In the last two years we’ve published two hugely successful videos for Youtube and this year we published a calendar with photographs of trans people. We’re also working closely with the swimming pools in Reykjavík to make them accessible for trans people and we regularly get asked to give talks to schools or workplaces about what it means to be trans and how to react to family members, friends or co-workers coming out.”

One last question: what are your plans for celebrating this milestone?

“We’re going to celebrate our 10th anniversary by first having our annual barbecue at Hljómskálagarðurinn on Saturday July 8th and then we’ll invite everybody over to Samtökin ’78 where we’ll have introductions by current and former board members, reminisce on our history and celebrate how far we’ve come together. Everybody is welcome – as long as they respect people’s pronouns and gender expression of course!”
Main photo: Villiljós Visual Art


    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:

    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

        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

          Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.