Anna Kristjánsdóttir has been chosen person of the year 2017. Anna is a legend in Iceland. She was the first trans woman to talk about her gender confirmation procedure in the local media and for many years she was the front-person in the battle for the rights of trans people in Iceland. Last year a book detailing her story came out. GayIceland contacted Anna and brought her the great news.
She hardly had time to take it though in as she was at work. We insisted on some reaction and got these answers. “I’m still mulling this over,” Anna says. “But I feel extremely grateful to the people who voted for me.”
When I read her the verdict of those who voted for her as person of the year: “Anna Kristjánsdóttir, for her subtle, one woman´s campaigning for an awareness of trans people in Iceland. With others having stepped into the spotlight too in recent years, we still must never forget the resilience of the first openly/publicly trans woman in Iceland.” She says feels humbled. “This makes me embarrassed,” she says with a laugh.
Are you surprised by this election?
“Oh, yes, definitely!”
Last year Your book, Anna – as I am (Anna – eins og ég er), got a lot of attention and dragged you back into the spotlight of the media. How did that feel?
“One of the ideas behind the book was that it should be the final chapter in my campaigning. That did not happen. But I admit that this attention tickled my vanity,” she says, but admits that she has not been very active in the battle for the last few years. “I should have done more, maybe.”
Saying that, are you planning to retire as an activist?
“I don’t know if I will retire completely, but these months I’m in the process of withdrawing from social activism, partly because that I’m due for retirement soon. So I’m preparing for my life as a pensionist.”
You are somewhat of an icon in the minds of many trans people in Iceland as well as many people within and outside of the queer community. Do you have any message for those people?
“Keep on fighting! Especially the youngest generations of trans people.”
In your opinion what is the most urgent matter that trans people have to fight for today?
“To keep fighting for the F64.0 rule to be removed from the law.
Also to get the third option for registering your sex in your passport. There was a huge discussion about that a while ago, and I don’t think that it would require a change of the law, but we didn’t push for it at the time because we were afraid that it would halt the making of the first law about the rights of trans people.”
Finally do you think that being elected as person of the year might make you reconsider withdrawing from activism? That it might urge you to be more active in the battle for the rights of trans people in Iceland than you have been in recent years?
“I would not think so, but I’m always open for discussions. It was never my plan in the beginning to make it my responsibility to fight for our cause, but nobody else was talking about those matters so I was forced to step into the spotlight. Now I’m very glad that a lot of young people have taken the battle over.”
Main photo: Sigurður Kaiser.