The gay friendly mayor of Reykjavík, Jón Gnarr, has once again hit the headlines, after threatening to break off the relationship with Moscow, after the Russian capital declared it´s negative stance on gay rights. Jón Gnarr’s viewpoint is shared by most Icelanders as the Icelandic people like to consider themselves as for human rights and thus pro gay rights.
However, Icelanders have not always been gay friendly. An exemple is from the 70′s, where the Icelandic troubadour, Hörður Torfason, saw himself forced to leave the country due to harrassments as a result of being openly gay. On his return, Hörður was one of the main advocates for the Icelandic gay association ´78.
Is Iceland really gay friendly?
Due to more open-mindedness and the advocacy of gay rights, Iceland is now considered one of the gay friendliest countries in the world and when speaking with Icelanders, young or old, most people share the viewpoint that gays have equal rights to straight in every area of life.
This mentality is also apparent in the following facts:
1. Iceland was the first country in the world to have an openly gay Prime Minister
2. One of the first countries in the world to allow same sex marriage
3. One of the first countries in the world to allow same sex to adoption or the right to have children
The Icelandic consitution says that people in Iceland are free to be who they are, of course as long as it does not harm others. There are openly gay people in all sectors and levels of society.
As for gay culture, there isn´t much grouping or isolation of gays as most feel that there does not need to be. Straight clubs will have gay and bi mixed with the straight, and the gay bars will have straight partying with the gays. Singles or a couple looking for gay friendly partying, music festivals in Reykjavik or a friendly jazz atmosphere have many options to choose from.
Gay Pride in Iceland
Now with the Icelandic gay pride parade around the corner, the support for gay rights is once again demonstrated by the people, as the gay pride parade is one of the biggest events in Reykjavík, where over 20% of the inhabitants from the capital area attend the parade, to show their support for the gay rights. The gay pride festival is a week long event in Reykjavik, with its height being the actual parade.
As for gay tourism, check out the gay friendly travel site which has great suggestions and ideas for things to do in Iceland.
Below is a song called ‘Better life’ by one of Iceland´s most beloved singer and songwriter, Páll Óskar. Páll is openly gay and competed in The Eurovision Song Contest in 1997 on behalf of Iceland.