The Reykjavik Pride Parade starts at 2 p.m. and is expected to be the biggest ever. GayIceland caught up with one of the Pride Parade managers, the charming and witty Ásta Kristín Benediktsdóttir, who has been quite the busy bunny for the past months and found out why the Pride Parade is still relevant in Iceland even though the rights of gays and lesbians are now equal to others.
So, Ásta, how are things going?
“Really good and everybody is super excited for the Parade!”
Great to hear. A little bird told us that its going to be quite big this year.
“True there are going to be 40 acts which make the Parade the biggest so far.”
Can we expect any changes from last year, bigger floats for example?
“I think that they are going to be similar in size to last year but then we Parade managers usually don’t know what they look like untill the big day arises. But Id like to point out that we are going to follow the same new route from last year which worked well, that is from the Bus terminal (BSÍ at Vatnsmýrarvegi 10), through Sóleyjargata and Fríkirkjuvegur past the Lækjargata.”
And how has the preparation been going?
“Really well. There are four of us on board the Parade- and security board. Helga Kristjana Bjarnadóttir, Sesselja María Mortensen and myself are planning the Parade for the third time and our security manager Eva Jóhannesdóttir is working with us for the second year in a row. We have been planning the Parade since May this year and up untill the Parade itself. Fingers crossed everything works out.”
How did you end up by becoming a parade manager?
“Originally the three of us, that is Helga, Sesselja and myself, were all part of the board members of Q the organisation of gay and lesbian students and because of how well we worked together we were asked to take control af the Reykjavik Pride Parade some years back. And it really turned out well. Of course we are only a part of a bigger group, some wonderful people who every year take part as volunteers and I consider myself to be very lucky to work with them.”
Describe a parade managers job in three words.
“Organization – collaboration – and of course a whole lot of fun!”
Some people wonder why the Parade itself is relevant now that we have full rights. What do you think?
“The Pride Parade is important because it reminds of the human rights we have acquired and how we need to protect them. It also reminds us of the things we need to fight for. Last but not least its important because It encourages us all, whether queer or not, to be happy and to welcome the complexity of life.”
Compared to other Pride Parades is it any different?
“There certainly is a difference, for example compared to countries in Eastern Europe, and its mainly due to the public participation. The Reykjavik Gay Pride Parade and festivities have become a public festival, probably the biggest one in Iceland. That I believe is different from anywhere else in the world. There the pride festivals are more of a festivals of queers and closest kin. Why things have evolved like they have in Iceland is hard to say but truth be told the Parade has gotten bigger each year in accordance with growing awareness and tolerance in Iceland toward the LGBT community for the past fifteen years.”
Life after the Parade?
“Hopefully a whole lot of fun and feasting tonight, if everything goes according to plan, with all the great people we have worked with. Then tomorrow I plan to relax for one day and after that reality kicks back in,” she says and smiles.