We here at GayIceland came across a great article about the Reykjavík Gay Pride Parade written by reporter and column-writer Erla Hlynsdóttir, published in newspaper Fréttablaðið and Visir.is yesterday under the caption “The Rain before the Rainbow”. We really think it says it all about the Pride Parade in Iceland this year so we decided to translate the text, share it and hope you like it just as much as we did:
We were standing in Lækjargata (Icelandic street name) waiting for the Pride Parade when two French ladies came up to us and asked: „What are you waiting for?” I told them exactly what we were waiting for and they decided to stand beside us. Soon the Pride Parade song could be heard and colorful rainbow flags came into view in the street in front of us.
The crowd went wild when a float decorated with the words “Free Pussy Riot” drove by us and I was filled with pride of being Icelandic when I saw our mayor appear in a dress with fake breasts. I decided to explain to the tourists next to me: “This is the mayor of Iceland,” I said in all the excitement but quickly made a correction by saying: “I mean the mayor of Reykjavík.” In case they hadn’t noticed his manly legs I decided to add: “He is a man!”
As jolly as the Pride Parade may be it always come to the part where I can feel the tears swelling up in my eyes. It is hard for me to admit to this because I consider myself a tough cookie. But I don´t cry out of sadness, I cry out of pride. Usually the tears come when I hear the text “I am what I am…” being sung. I cry when I think that the Reykjavík Gay Pride Parade is one of the biggest events in Iceland and that Icelanders consider it just as natural as anything else to go with their children and embrace the diversity of life with gays, lesbians and trans people. This year however, the tears came before the song started.
Far away I could see a float in the Parade that was different from the others. No music came from it and it wasn´t decorated with any rainbow flags. Nobody was on it. As it drew closer I could see there was an empty bench on it. Then I saw the written message: “For our friends who don’t have the freedom to celebrate gay pride.” Even though music came from the other floats it was as if it had been turned down. It was at that moment I started crying. As usual I brushed the tears away as secretly as possible. Then I looked at the French lady standing next to me and saw she was also crying. She looked at me and we both knew that we had just experienced something great together. I looked back at the Parade and decided not to hide the tears. They were there for a reason.