The eleventh annual Reykjavik Gay Pride parade and outdoor concert with Pall Oskar (probably Iceland’s biggest pop star) attracted about 80,000 people to the middle of Reykjavik on Saturday.
Involving roughly a quarter of Iceland’s entire population, the sheer size of the party is tribute to Iceland’s leading equal rights legislation and the citizens’ inclusive nature.
The Reykjavik Gay Pride parade 2009 featured a greater number of carnival floats than ever before, meaning the crowds did not go away disappointed. In fact, Iceland as a gay holiday destination has become increasingly popular recently – partly because of features in major media: Reykjavik was featured as a recent ‘destination of the month’ in Attitude magazine, among others.
Iceland does not have a gay village. It does not even have many gay bars and clubs at all. But that has nothing to do with Iceland being a strict, conservative society…quite the opposite in fact.
Peek into a Reykjavik gay bar on a Saturday night and you will see a clientele anything but exclusively gay. And if you think all the dozens of other bars in town are straight-only, think again. People in Reykjavik go partying in places dictated by their taste in music, their taste in décor or simply by their bossy friends. They do not need to choose a venue based only on their sexuality.
There are a variety of helpful websites available for gay travellers in Iceland. The English language GayIce.is is a good start and includes a list of links to other useful sites.
The Icelandic Tourist Board’s Visit Iceland website is also packed with invaluable information on things to do in Iceland; from the Blue Lagoon and the hundreds of geothermal pools to glacier hiking and white water rafting.
Photo: Olafur Kr. Olafsson (Flickr.com/olafur)