Trans Children (Trans börn) is a documentary in three episodes that’s currently being shown on Icelandic TV channel Stöð 2 (Channel 2). In the documentary Sigrún Ósk Kristjánsdóttir follows four families of trans children for two years and the viewer gets to know their joys, sorrows and challenges during that time. The idea is not Sigrún’s own it was the documentary’s producer, Sveinn Benedikt Rögnvaldsson, who came to her four years ago and asked her to take part in this project.

Sigrún Ósk Kristjánsdóttir. Photo / Vilhelm Gunnarsson

“Right from the beginning I found this subject very interesting,” Sigrún says. “But at that time I was working on other projects so it was put on hold for about a year. Three years ago we started developing the idea, got it approved by our superiors and started meeting families with trans children to find the ones we were going to follow for the next two years. We had seen some interviews with trans children and their families in the media but we wanted to be able to follow the developments of their lives over a longer period.”

“It is a horrible retrogression that BUGL has had to limit it’s services,
especially when you think about how fast this group is growing. It’s extremely important that this group gets the best service available in every aspect.”

How did you go about choosing the families who are followed in the documentary?
“We got in touch with Sigríður Birna Valsdóttir, who is a counselor for the National Queer Organisation Samtökin ’78. She was the first name everyone we spoke to mentioned as the person who knew most about trans issues in Iceland,” Sigrún explains. “She pointed out some possible subjects for the documentary and we met a whole lot of families before we selected the four we follow in the documentary.”

It was always an option to back out

Was everyone you spoke to ready to take part in this project and willing to let you watch their families for two whole years?
“Yes, everyone we met was willing to take part,” Sigrún says. “They all took their time to think it over before they said yes, of course, as it is a very big step to take, but everyone agreed that there was a need for a documentary of this kind and most of them said that they wished they had been able to see a program like this before they had to tackle the experience of raising a trans child. The children were of course part of the decision and they had the final say.”

The four children in the documentary are of different ages, when the filming started the youngest one was seven and the oldest one seventeen, so they were all at different stages in their transitions. But did the kids never get cold feet and want to stop?
“No, not really,“ Sigrún says. “But it was perfectly clear right from the start that if they ever got uncomfortable with this they could back out. At the beginning we were following five kids but one of them wanted to quit quite early in the process and that was of course completely OK with us. The last thing we wanted was to put pressure on anyone to take part and of course a lot of things can change over the period of two years so that was very well underlined from us that they were doing this of their own free will, and the decision had to be theirs.”

The documentary follows four trans children and their families for two years.

They could all be the family next door

What was the most surprising thing you discovered int the process of making this documentary?
“I hav gotten this question before and I’m never quite sure how to say this
without sounding prejudiced,” Sigrún says and laughs. “But the most surprising thing was how completely normal these families are. They could all be the family next door and every single one of them was absolutely wonderful. One of the reasons we chose these families was that we knew that everyone could see themselves in them and relate to them. I was absolutely sure even before the first part was shown that nobody could watch it without rooting for these families and those kids. They are so sincere and tell their stories with such candor that they completely conquer your heart.”

Another thing that Sigrún says came as a surprise to her is that none of these children have experienced bullying at school or anywhere else. “That was an extremely pleasant surprise,” she says, smiling happily. “Children nowadays are so much further along than most of us grownups in embracing diversity. They accept that people are different in all kinds of  ways and I find that wonderful and amazing. All the parents we spoke to told us that they had feared that the kids would be bullied if they were allowed to be who they are and dress as they pleased, they would be the target for bullying and not be accepted for who they are. They did not realize how much things have changed since they themselves were kids, twenty to thirty years ago.”

Sigrún says its very important that the children and youngsters get the service they need at BUGL.

Recently there has been a lot of debate about the trans team that was active at BUGL (the psychiatric department for children and youngsters at the National Hospital) but is currently not opperating due to lack of professional employees. What does Sigrún think about that and how does she think it will affect trans kids in Iceland?
“It is a horrible retrogression that BUGL has had to limit it’s services,
especially when you think about how fast this group is growing. It’s extremely important that this group gets the best service available in every aspect. The people working at BUGL are doing their best but there is a lot more money needed for the institution for it to be able to function at it’s best capacity.”

“Before I saw the discussion I really believed that there were limits for what people were willing to say about others, especially children, but it seems that I was wrong.”

Asked if it is her experience that these kids are happy and that the obstacles of the past are slowly disappearing for trans children and youngsters, Sigrún replies that it is here feeling that is is getting easier than it used to be. “But obviously there are still all kinds of complications, especially for young adults. It’s always difficult to be entering adulthood and it’s even more difficult for youngsters with additional things to work through, so the last thing this group of children needs is opinions and prejudices from people who don’t know the first thing about what they are dealing with.”

Horrifying to see what people are ready to say

Speaking of that, even before the first part of Trans Children aired on Stöð 2 there was a harsh reaction towards the show from a group of people who obviously had no idea what they were talking about. Sigrún admits that that came as a bit of a shock.
“Before I saw the discussion I really believed that there were limits for what people were willing to say about others, especially children, but it seems that I was wrong,” she says. “I was really shocked to see this and it was also astounding how much people were ready to discuss things they obviously had not the slightest idea about. But that made it even more clear how necessary this documentary is. It’s apalling how little people know about these issues and how stupid many of their arguments are. The good news is that since the first part of Trans Children aired last sunday these discussions seem to have wanished. That makes me very happy and is the final confirmation of how necessary this documentary is and how right we were in making it. The most beautiful comment I have gotten about the documentary was that it made it perfectly clear that we had to accept diversity and let people be who they are in all cases, it makes us all richer as human beings to accept and embrace everyone.”

The first part of Trans Children is now available to watch in it’s entirety at
visir.is.The second part will be shown at Stöð 2 tonight, Sunday 16th of
February and the last part next Sunday, the 23rd of February.

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.

Locations:

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.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      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 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier 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 a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

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

      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.

      Landsbankinn
      - 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.

      Dohop
      - 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. “

      Macland
      - 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.

      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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        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.

        Núðluskálin
        - 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).

        Seatours
        - 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.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        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.

        600x400-seatours

        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
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -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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