“We suddenly felt like we were at a memorial for fallen lesbians and gays around the world.”
What is Gay Pride all about? Putting out a strong message, right? But which way is the best to do it? I must admit these thoughts passed my mind during the last Reykjavík Gay Pride here in Iceland. That is after the Opening of Gay Pride, on the first official day of the festivities, which came as a surprise to me and my gay friends, many of which who came from abroad to experience the Icelandic Gay Pride.
– Björn Birgir Ingimundarson
The usually happy event was very solemn. After a few glasses of white wines before the show, none of us were expecting dramatic poetry or a dark and gloomy hall which quickly put a big strap on our happy mood. We suddenly felt like we were at a memorial for fallen lesbians and gays around the world.
I fully understand the need to memorize different, and even difficult, times. Being 44 now I can remember when being gay sounded like a terrible fate. Not only did you expect to become an outsider in society, but you were also convinced that friends and family would reject you. And surprised when none of that happened because you had such a hard time accepting yourself.
The Icelandic society felt so alien to me during those coming out years that I ran away after graduating from college. Apart from the summers I spent most of my young adult years in Paris feeling safe in the big city. I watched the first gay prides take place in Iceland and can still remember the goosebumps I got at Ingólfstorg back in 1999. I watched gay rights progress here from afar. And what amazing progress. At the time I started to think how lucky I was to be Icelandic. Maybe we where on the right road.
That‘s what I want to celebrate during Gay Pride. I want it to be a happy event. Few of my lesbian friends don‘t always agree with me. Some want it to be much more political. A reminder of the bad things that happened here in the past and horrible things taking place elsewhere today. That we take ourselves more seriously.
In general that‘s where my opinion differs from theirs. I don‘t think we should take ourselves more seriously. We should try have fun. Fill our existence with joy and happiness. Life is already hard enough as it is. Pride is a chance to make it more amusing.
That doesn‘t mean I think we should forget our fight for rights. The perfect example is our gay friendly heterosexual city mayor. For many years he has shown up in drag for the Pride Parade. By doing so he puts out a powerful message in a humorous manner. I‘m sure we can also find the same balance in our Pride.