Public Transport Woes Over Pride Weekend

strætó bus reykjavík

Overfilled buses led to some inconvenience this past weekend as Reykjavík celebrated its annual Pride Parade, reports Vísir.

With downtown Reykjavík filled with festivities, many capital area residents chose to take the bus instead of parking during a busy weekend. In fact, Reykjavík Pride claims to have had a record number of attendees this time around.

However, reports of overcrowded buses and long wait times show that Strætó was not able to keep up with increased demand, with Vísir reporting that some capital area residents simply gave up after being passed by five full buses.

Jóhannes Svavar Rúnarsson, a spokesperson for Strætó, stated to Vísir that Strætó followed their normal weekend schedule during Pride. There had been a discussion about whether to increase the service, similar to what’s done on Culture Night (Menningarnótt), but due to a shortage of funds, nothing was done.

Jóhannes continued, saying  “we know of very many who didn’t get a spot. Many buses were just filling up.”

He stated that there will be further discussion next year about whether the bus service should be adjusted to meet the demand during the Pride Parade.

[visual-link-preview encoded=”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”]

Hateful Graffiti on Church’s Pride Flag Now Matter for the Police

Hateful, anti-LGBTQIA+ messages have twice been spray-painted on the Pride flag adorning the steps leading up to Grafarvogskirkja, a Lutheran church in the district of Grafarvogur on the eastern outskirts of Reykjavík. There have been two separate incidents of anti-LGBTQIA+ messages being sprayed on the flag. RÚV reports that the incidents have now been referred to the police.

The first message, reading “ANTICHRIST,” was sprayed on the church’s stairway last Saturday. “This was the path up to the church this morning,” wrote Pastor Guðrún Karls Helgudóttir in a Facebook post that day. “It shows how important the rainbow’s message is. This rainbow clearly needs to stand in front of the church and remind us of fellowship, that all people are equally precious, and that love is love.” Pastor Guðrún ended her post with a rainbow of emoji hearts, as well as the Pride and Trans flags.

A photo uploaded in the comments of the original post showed people painting over the hateful graffiti later that morning. Per the caption: “A Swedish family who came to see the church offered to paint over [the message] immediately.”

Family volunteers to paint over hateful graffiti. Image via Grafarvogskirkja Grafarvogi, Facebook

Only days later, on Monday, a different message was tagged on Grafarvogskirkja’s rainbow flag. This time, it read “LEVITICUS 20:13,” referencing a verse from the Old Testament of the Christian Bible which says that men who have sexual relations with other men should be put to death.

Grafarvogskirkja Grafarvogi, FB

“Our beautiful flag has been scribbled on again,” Pastor Guðrún wrote on Facebook. She added that the same chapter in Leviticus also lists off other people who should be put to death, including (but certainly not limited to): anyone who curses their mother and/or father, people who commit adultery, and men who have sex with women who are on their periods.

“We at Grafarvogskirkja choose rather to follow the message of Jesus Christ, who told us to love one another. We believe that each and every person is one of God’s beloved creations and is allowed to live the life that has been predestined for her/them/him.”

The post continued: “The message of Jesus Christ is in full accordance with human rights declarations, and we at Grafarvogskirkja stand for human rights and fight against hatred and prejudice.”

West Iceland Pride Festival This Weekend

This weekend marks the second annual West Iceland Pride Festival. RÚV reports that the festival, which will take place in Ólafsvík, Grundarfjörður, and Rif, will include a parade, a picnic, and a ball headlined by gay icon Páll Óskar, and is intended to increase LGBTQIA+ visibility outisde of the capital area.

Alexander Aron Guðjónsson, one of the festival organizers, says that the West Iceland Pride Festival is here to stay. Last year’s celebration was held in the town of Borgarnes, and “was the biggest town festival that had ever been held [there].” He added that well over a thousand people took part in the Pride parade. “We plan to go all over the west—Borgarnes last year, [the municipality of] Snæfellsbær this year, and tomorrow, we’ll announce where we’re going next year.”

It’s important that the voices of LGBTQIA+ people are heard all over Iceland, Alexander Aron continued. “We hear this so often from people…Just now, a man came into our shop here to buy a flag to wave, and he was saying that this is kind of a male-dominated society that sometimes isn’t super open, such that you can see all its diversity. So it’s great to come here and show people who are in the closet and don’t dare come out because they’re afraid to […]: there are people like them here in the West and they are visible and want to be, they want to be loud and speak up about who they are.”

Pride Parade on Saturday

The festival’s main event, the Pride Parade, will take place in Ólafsvík on Saturday at 2:00pm. The parade will begin at Ólafsbraut 66, head down the street, and turn up Kirkjutún before ending at Sjómannagarðurinn (‘The Sailors’ Park’). Per the organizers, “We celebrate diversity and will ALL walk together in support of LGBTQIA+ people’s fight for their rights.” Drag Queen Miss Agatha P. Meðal will host festivities in the park after the parade, including live music and a Queer as Hell Disco with DJ AlexanderAron from 10pm – 1am.

See the full schedule on the West Iceland Pride Festival page on Facebook, here, or on Instagram, here, and join in on the fun with the hashtags #hinseginvest and #hinseginvest22.

Icelandic Sign Language Adopts Four New LGBTQIA+ Signs

Four new signs have been adopted into Icelandic Sign Language: eikynhneigður (asexual), kynsegin (non-binary or genderqueer), kvár (a gender-neutral identifier for non-binary adults that can be used in place of ‘man’ or ‘woman’), and stálp (a gender-neutral identifier for non-binary children/youth that can be used in place of ‘boy’ or ‘girl.’) RÚV reports.

Crowdsourcing New Icelandic Words from the Community

The new signs were crowdsourced from members of Iceland’s LGBTQIA+ Deaf community and selected by Samtökin 78, Iceland’s National LGBTQIA+ Organization, in partnership with the Language Committee on Icelandic Sign Language. The terms themselves were newly coined last January as part of Hýryrði, a competition that Samtökin 78 has held annually since 2015. The competition crowdsources new Icelandic words to correspond with terms that are important to the LGBTQIA+ community.

New coinages are submitted to the competition along with contextual rationales for their adoption into the language. Kvár, for instance, was one of many suggested terms for nonbinary adults. It had only been in existence for a few short months when it was submitted to the competition, but in that time, it had already enjoyed wide usage amongst Iceland’s LGBTQIA+ community. Kvár was coined by Hrafnsunna Celeste Ross.

Stálp has a lot of strong etymological roots in Icelandic. For one, it takes its root from the adjective stálpaður, or ‘adolescent.’ It begins with ‘st-‘ just like the Icelandic words for both boy (strákur) and girl (stelpa). It shares an -á with strákur and an -lp with stelpa. It was hoped that stálp’s clear roots and derivations would aid in its quick adoption and broad usage. Stálp was coined by Inga Auðbjörg Straumland.

‘All LGBTQIA+ people should be able to talk about their experiences and self-images’

“All LGBTQIA+ people in Iceland should be able to talk about their experiences and self-images, no matter if their mother tongue is Icelandic or Icelandic Sign Language, and this is an important thing for Samtökin 78 to support. We thank everyone who sent in suggestions for participating! Now it’s up to DEAF LGBTQIA+ people whether these symbols will gain traction and we look forward to seeing how things progress,” said Samtökin 78 chair Þorbjörg Þorvaldsdóttir in a press release.

Videos for the new signs can be seen below:

Eikynhneigður / asexual (sign coined by Mordekaí Elí Esrason):

Kynsegin / non-binary or genderqueer (coined by Kristín Lena Þorvaldsdóttir):

Kvár an identifier for nonbinary adults (coined by Anna Guðlaug Gunnarsdóttir):

Stálp – an identifier for nonbinary children (sign coined by Mordekaí Elí Esrason):

West Iceland’s First Pride Celebration Draws Crowds

LGBTQ hinsegin vesturland Borgarnes pride parade June 10 2021

Borgarnes, West Iceland was blanketed by rainbows – and crowds – last Saturday at the region’s first-ever pride celebrations. The event was one of the first projects of the region’s newly-minted LGBT+ association Hinsegin Vesturland. The organisers say they are overjoyed with the turnout and hope to change the discourse on LGBT+ issues in the Icelandic countryside.

The sister Guðrún Steinunn and Bjargey Anna Guðbrandsdóttir are among the finders of the association and organisers of the local pride festival. “This is so, so much bigger than we ever expected,” Bjargey told RÚV. “When [Guðrún] started talking about this idea a few years ago we imagined one float and walking with our family on the float. I don’t even know how many people are here, it’s wonderful.”

Alexander Aron Guðjónsson is another one of the event’s organisers. Asked about the importance of holding an LGBT+ festival in the countryside, he answered: “There is a slightly different rhetoric here in the countryside about LGBT+ people. So it’s very positive to do this in as many places as possible so that there is an open discussion about everything and everyone, everywhere.”

The West Iceland LGBT+ Association (Hinsegin Vesturland) was founded in February of this year. North Iceland and East Iceland also have regional LGBT+ associations. Samtökin ’78 is Iceland’s National Queer Organisation as was the first association of its kind in Iceland.