Gender-Neutral Attitude at Icelandic Elementary School

Akurskóli, an elementary school in the Reykjanes peninsula, has taken innovative steps to move away from imposing gender binaries on students by removing gendered signs from the bathroom doors and by opening up the requirements for gender-specific swimwear.

The principal of the school, Sigurbjörg Róbertsdóttir, was interviewed by about the school’s choices and she explained that the goal of minimizing gendered signs and rules was to make the students more comfortable and to make the overall atmosphere of the school feel more open and accepting. According to her, there are gender-fluid and trans children attending the school.

The bathrooms are individual restrooms with doors that lock, rather than larger rooms with many stalls, so it made sense to remove “Boys” and “Girls” signs from the doors and allow students to choose whichever restroom was convenient for them.

For swim lessons, the school stipulates that students wear “appropriate swim-wear,” rather than specifying that girls should wear swimsuits and boys should wear trunks. Children can wear whichever they choose.

According to Sigurbjörg, both parents and students have had a positive response to the changes at Akurskóli. She feels that other schools in Iceland should take steps toward making these same changes.