LGBT+ Children & Schools

Boy and a Dog Wearing Mismatched Socks

There are LGBT+ children in all schools and they are a diverse group, just like other children. However, LGBT+ children have in common the fact that they are outside the so-called norm in terms of sexual orientation, gender expression, sex characteristics, and/or gender identity. 

The National Curriculum, the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights Irrespective of Gender, and Reykjavik City’s Human Rights Policy oblige schools to consider and teach about LGBT+ people and issues. This page has material that will hopefully make that task easier for schools.

LGBT+ Friendly Schools

Schools that want to be LGBT+ friendly can use the checklist below, which is divided into three sections: students, teachers, and the school. All schools can benefit from the checklist regardless of school level, but some aspects are more relevant to older children than younger ones and vice versa. Information and guidelines have also been compiled for schools on non-gender-segregated birthdays and birthday groups.

Colorful school bags lying on the floor

LGBT+ Community Center

Tjornin’s LGBT+ Community Center is for all young people in grades 8 to 10 who identify as LGBT+ or have another connection with LGBT+ issues. The Community Center is housed at Spennistodin by Austurbaejarskoli School and is open every Tuesday evening from 7:30 pm to 10 pm. Social activities are also available for 10 to 12 year old LGBT+ children and children who have another connection with LGBT+ issues. The director of the Community Center is Hrefna Thorarinsdottir. You can contact Hrefna via email or phone at 6908904.

Samtokin '78 also have a group for LGBT+ youth aged 16 and over in their premises. You can get more information from Hrefna or Samtokin '78

LGBT+ Education Material

Here is a list of LGBT+ education material including books, articles, videos, and more, covering LGBT+ issues, including transgender child and adult issues. Each item has a brief description of the content as well as its language, as well as who it might be appropriate for. When using material for children, it is good to use it as a starting point for discussions.

You can also check out the 2021 Gender and LGBT+ Education Material Report, which groups content by school level. 

Well-being of LGBT+ Children and Youth

We live in a society where heterosexuality and cisgender (not being trans) are the norms. Therefore, LGBT+ people are at greater risk of exclusion, discrimination, prejudice, bullying, and other forms of violence.


This manifests itself widely and not least within the school system, where children spend a large amount of time and are heavily influenced, which is confirmed by a survey of the way LGBT+ youth feel in the Icelandic school environment.

The well-being and circumstances of LGBT+ children and youth in schools

Icelandic and foreign research shows that LGBT+ students often feel worse in schools than others, and that teaching methods, teaching materials, and the discourse are often exclusionary and even degrading towards LGBT+ people. It often seems that silence and embarrassment prevail around queerness, and children often hear LGBT+ terms used in negative terms before learning what the terms really mean.


A recent survey of the experience of LGBT+ youth in Icelandic schools showed the significant positive influence supportive teachers and diverse teaching materials and discussions (based on LGBT+ issues) can have. 

LGBT+ Families

It is important to understand that parents, guardians, and student families may be LGBT+. A number of factors need to be considered to ensure that LGBT+ families are included and feel welcomed and expected, and also so that students do not experience exclusion or divergence for having a LGBT+ family. There is a need to consider how families are addressed, who is expected on forms, how people are invited to participate in school activities, how families are spoken about in the classroom, etc. Minority stress also needs to be considered when working with LGBT+ parents and guardians.

It is therefore important to make it clear that LGBT+ families are welcome. Just as with students, it is worth asking yourself: “How do LGBT+ parents and families know they are welcome and have a supportive environment?“ It may also well be that school staff have children, parents, siblings, or other family members who identify as LGBT+, so it is important to ensure LGBT+ friendly rhetoric.

More information, education, and advice

The following parties can offer consultation, various LGBT+ education, and advice.

  • You can apply for LGBT+ education from the Human Rights & Democracy Office, which can be tailored to the needs of each workplace. You can also apply for Rainbow Certification by contacting Svandis or through Svandis also provides advice and support in the area of LGBT+ issues.
  • The Equality School (Jafnréttisskólinn) provides support and advice, as well as education, on equality issues in both Reykjavik City schools and after-school centers. The project director of the Equality School is Kolbrun Hrund Sigurgeirsdottir:
  • Samtökin '78 have an agreement with Reykjavik City and provide training to students on LGBT+ issues and people in Reykjavik City schools free of charge. The association also offers counseling for LGBT+ children/people and their immediate family at no cost. You can sign up for education on the website of Samtokin '78
  • Samtokin '78 and Tjornin run a LGBT+ Community Center for all young people aged 13 to 18 who identify as LGBT+ or have another connection with LGBT+ issues. The Community Center is open every Tuesday evening from 7:30 pm to 10 pm. The director of the Community Center is Hrefna Thorarinsdottir. The director can be contacted via email at or by phone at 6908904.