Mother of trans boy: The only obstacle was the psychiatrist

A mother of a young trans boy says that society as a whole has been remarkably understanding towards her son. With one exception: A psychiatrist who refused to take his claim of being a boy seriously.

Sólveig Hólm is the mother of fourteen year old boy called Sam Alex (pictured above). She is one of the parents partaking in a panel discussion at a symposium about trans children and youths at Iðnó on Friday.

Sólveig Hólm’s son is trans but was raised as one of three sisters until he was thirteen years old. Now he is fourteen years old, with a new name and a new and much happier life. Sólveig is one of the parents partaking in a panel discussion at a symposium about trans children and youths this Friday in Iðnó. She told GayIceland her story.
“It all started in the spring 2016, when my son was thirteen years old,” she says when asked when she knew that her child which she thought was a girl was in fact a boy. “When he was eleven he started to talk about that he might be homosexual but at thirteen he knew he was in fact a boy. When he came out to us his father and I didn’t know anything about trans issues, but of course we supported him and started going for counseling at the headquarters of The National Queer Organisation, Samtökin ’78, to learn about being trans and how to go about coming out to the world.”

“That psychiatrist really didn’t take him seriously when he came out as a boy. Kept saying that this was just some phase caused by teen angst and hormonal changes and that it would soon blow over.”

The counselor at Samtökin ’78 suggested that Sam would be allowed to get used to the role as a boy at home at first, there was no hurry to tell the world right away.
“So he told us his new name, Sam Alex, which he had already chosen, and we started to call him by that name and interact with him as a boy,” Sólveig explains. “We made occasional mistakes at first, calling him his old name and I kept referring to “my girls” when talking about my children, but little by little we got used to it and today it feels like he has always been Sam, which of course he has, we just didn’t know.”

Coming out at school was a bigger challenge and after Sólveig and her husband started going to group meetings for families and loved ones of trans children they were advised to make Sam switch schools so he could start with a clean slate as a boy.
“So when he started in eighth grade he started at Ingunnarskóli in Grafarholt, where he was instantly registered under his new name and accepted as a boy. The counselor from Samtökin ’78 went with him on the first day of school and explained to the other children that he was trans gender and what that means. It was a great help and the kids just accepted him on the spot. I think education in trans matters is crucial for society to understand and accept trans children and his new school has been wonderful to him in every respect. There have been no obstacles there whatsoever.”

The psychiatrist refused to listen

Speaking of obstacles Sólveig says that everyone, family, friends, acquaintances and society as a whole has been remarkably understanding and open to this new turn Sam’s life has taken. With one notable exception; his psychiatrist refused to take his claim of being a boy seriously.

The symposium is organized by Trans Iceland and Samtökin ’78.

“He has a diagnosis of ADHD and Tourette and had been seeing this child psychiatrist for a while,” she explains. “That psychiatrist really didn’t take him seriously when he came out as a boy. Kept saying that this was just some phase caused by teen angst and hormonal changes and that it would soon blow over. He even kept referring to Sam as a she and calling him his old name the whole time. I told him time and again that Sam was a he, but he just dismissed it. That was rather bizarre and the only negative response we have gotten this whole time.”

One of the things that the psychiatrist failed to do was referring Sam to the trans team at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Department, BUGL, which is necessary for getting in there. Sólveig says it was really frustrating and that in the end they had to go to their GP to get that reference.

“We reminded the psychiatrist three times to send in the application form to BUGL but he just didn’t do it. After weeks of this we decided to stop seeing him and asked our GP to refer Sam to the trans team. Which he did in a matter of days and three weeks later he got in, it was not harder than that!”

It’s obvious that Sólveig is really stunned and angry by this conduct of the psychiatrist but being a positive person she refuses to dwell on it.
“It’s honestly the only negative experience we have had in the process of Sam coming out as trans and the support and positivity we have met everywhere else completely outweighs it,” she says. “We just didn’t expect this response from a psychiatrist.”

“We just have to be aware of the fact that attitudes can change rapidly, keep up the education and keep the discussion open. I think that leads to a much better and happier society for us all.”

Sólveig says that that Sam was socially very isolated before. “By his own choice and in retrospect I think that part of that was because he didn’t feel he fitted in with the girls and was, as a girl, not accepted in the boys groups. He had three friends when he was younger and they were all boys. He didn’t feel at home with groups of girls which of course makes perfect sense now.”

Coming out has completely changed Sam’s life, he is accepted as one of the boys in his new school and once a week he goes to a meeting for queer youngsters at the headquarters of Samtökin ’78.
“Yes, that’s wonderful,” Sólveig exclaims. “He never misses a meeting and always wants to go, which is rare for him as he is not very social as a rule. The work that Samtökin ’78 is doing with these kids and their loved ones is remarkable and I’m very grateful for it. It has really helped to make Sam a much happier and fulfilled kid.”

Little support from the health system

Sam is still meeting with the trans team at BUGL but after that is over Sólveig says that there is not much more support from the health system.
“After that I don’t know what happens. He is too young to be legally registered as a boy and the reassignment process can’t begin until he is eighteen. But we are not thinking that far a head yet. We didn’t want to put him on blockers as they can have really heavy side effects both physically and mentally, and he was already in puberty when he came out so they would not have had much effect anyway. So he has undergone physical changes relating to puberty, which are a cause of concern for him, but on the whole he is so much happier now than two years ago that I can’t even begin to describe it. We will just take this process one step at a time and see where that leads. The main issue is for him to be happy and at ease with himself.”

Sólveig will parttake in a panel discussion at the symposium in Iðnó, what will be her main points of discussion?
“That everyone has a right to be as he is,” she answers instantly. “There is this tendency to try to fit everyone into some narrow box by society, but I think that there is not one person in the universe who actually fits in those boxes and categories. We are all unique and we should aim at celebrating that uniqueness instead of trying to smolder it by previously decided rules about how people are supposed to be.

Luckily there has been a huge change of attitude towards trans people here in Iceland in the last few years and the kids that are the same age as Sam have not even given a thought to the notion that he is in some way different. He’s just who he is.

We just have to be aware of the fact that attitudes can change rapidly, keep up the education and keep the discussion open. I think that leads to a much better and happier society for us all.”

The symposium, which is called Under the Rainbow starts at Iðnó on Friday March 2nd at 9 AM and is open to everyone.

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.


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.


    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.



        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.

        Whales of Iceland
        - larger than life

        Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

        - 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.

        Aurora Reykjavik
        - northern lights center

          Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

          Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

          The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

          Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

          Contact Aurora

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            - 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.

              - noodle bar

              Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

              All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
              We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
              Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

              Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

              - adventure cruise

              Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
              and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

              The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.


              This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.


              The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

              Birds, possible to spot:
              -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
              -eider ducks
              -white-tailed eagle

              The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
              Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

              Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

              Contact Us

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