The Pride of Iceland: LGBTQA+ Celebration in Reykjavik

Pride Month may be over in the States, but recognition of LGBTQA+ struggles is universal. Quirktastic has the scoop on Reykjavik Pride’s 20 year celebration in Iceland for 2019. 

According to Gunnlaugur Bragi, President of Reykjavík Pride, Iceland’s Pride celebration for LGBTQA+ 

 …is not just one of the country’s most-attended festivals but probably the most-attended Pride event in the world – relative to the population.

Crowds filled every street downtown.

More than a week was dedicated to Iceland’s Pride celebration, as it was such an important milestone. What began as a small fifteen hundred person twenty years ago has now become a celebration that welcomes thousands of people from all over the globe, including several organizations from the U.S. who flew in to show their solidarity. Workshops like Queer Path to Parenthood and Queer Sex Education were held at the National Museum of Iceland during the week.

Amazing scenery was even visible downtown.

This Pride celebration not only took over the city- it spilled over into the countryside. Iceland is famous for its spectacular outdoor activities and views, which led to a Queer Hike for all ages to Vífilsfell, an excursion that would take around two hours to complete.

Ultimately, Pride cumulated in the weekend’s festivities. Come Saturday morning, the streets were packed with locals and tourists alike, eager to join in the celebration. 

 

Once the parade passed, the crowds moved almost as one. Together, spectators were able to follow along with the parade through city streets, leading to the open-air concert venue that would house the rest of the celebration. Many stopped for a rest to admire the iconic scenery and unseasonably gorgeous weather for an August in Iceland. 

 

Visitors rested at the halfway point on the way to the venue.

 

In Iceland,TV was an interesting mix of American sitcom reruns, British game shows, and Icelandic Music Videos. These ranged from pop to punk to EDM. That variety of musical offerings was on display during the concert which kicked off after the parade in Hljómskálagarður park.  

 

The brilliant stage stood out like a beacon.

Everyone was in high spirits, swaying to the music and singing along whenever they could. Videos and performances were available in both English and native Icelandic to accommodate for the large number of international visitors. Local company Appelsín handed out their featured product to the thirsty crowd- a soft drink that tastes of oranges, ironically enough. 

 

Costumes, flags, signs and banners dotted the crowd.

 

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The official theme for Reykjavik Pride 2019 was “I Am What I Am” performed by Kid Isak. Kid Isak is a POC artist in the overwhelmingly white country which boasts a population that is 93% Gaelic/Nordic descent. The entire crowd went wild when it played at the peak of the show. 

 

 

After the performance it was time to grab a bite to eat and rest up for the night’s festivities. Visiting Reykjavik during Pride week was an enlightening experience and crazy fun. Still, it’s important to focus on what Reykjavik Pride is all about: 

We will forge ahead toward full equality – legally and socially. We will combat all adversity – assault, discrimination, and the microagressions of daily life. We will continue to discuss, study, and challenge. And we’ll celebrate too. 

 

Photos provided by photographer Mighty Mauricio

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