Supporters of other teams have on occasions made disrespectful remarks about my sexuality.

Helgi Omarsson

Last year Daníel Örn Einarsson became the first Icelandic handball player to publicly say he’s gay and challenged the homophobic notion that sports and homosexuality don’t mix. He says gay athletes are still hesitant of coming out in Iceland, but shouldn’t feel pressured to. For Daníel Örn the response has been mostly positive, although sport fans have made disrespectful remarks about his sexuality.

– by Helgi Ómarsson

Never officially came out

For those not familiar with your story, start by telling us a little bit about yourself.
“My name is Daníel Örn Einarsson and I was born on July 23rd 1988 in Garðabær, Iceland. I’m currently finishing my bachelors degree in anthropology from the University of Iceland. When I’m not studying I’m usually at Kex Hostel working or hanging out, I even study there a lot. I think I spend more time there than at home. As well as working and going to school I play handball for KR. So I don’t have much spare time. Usually I go out to eat or get drinks with friends. If I don’t feel like going out I watch TV shows, play football manager and push the refresh button on Facebook constantly.” He smiles.

When did you suspect you were gay?
“I think everyone knows around the age of puberty whether they’re gay or straight. However I chose to ignore my feeling and just tried to focus on other things and fit in. For many years I was able to convince myself I was attracted to girls. I didn’t even see “the warning signs” when I fantasized about men. Looking back I guess I always knew the truth deep down, but managed to suppress my true feelings. Which is not the most sensible way to go about it. After  I became honest with my feelings, everything fell into place.”

When did you come out?
“I didn’t really have a “coming out moment”. I first met a guy in january 2009 and when that was going on I told my older sister about it. After I stopped seeing the guy, I started hanging out with people who I had gotten to know through him and it was mainly in that group that I started to explore and felt comfortable being myself. Then by spring and over the course of the summer the word kind of spread. If asked whether I was gay, I slowly found the confidence to answer with a “yes”.
This was my way of doing things. I felt like I didn’t have to tell anyone, that it didn’t have to be a big deal. So in a way I never officially came out the closet. It just happened slowly and without any dramatic moments.”

What were friend’s and family’s reactions?
“They were all very supportive and basically said it didn’t matter whether I liked guys or girls as long as I was happy. In my parents opinion the happiness of their children is the only thing that matters. That’s a way of thinking I completely agree with.”

Which team were you playing for at the time?
“I want to start by saying that I began training handball around the age of 6 or 7, and like every boy who plays sports I wanted to be a professional athlete. I chose KR because the club trains less than the top division teams which made it possible for me to focus more on school and work. Before that I had a really nice time at HK under a great coach and with great teammates, after playing for KA, a very tight group with a lot of ambition, in Akureyri (a town in northern Iceland) for two years. But it was before that time, when I was still with Stjarnan, my hometown club, that I decided to come out.”

Where you nervous about your teammates reactions?
“At first I tought a lot about it. Thankfully most of them didn’t mind at all and their behaviour towards my didn’t change. Of course some guys were a little scared but didn’t show it directly. Once they saw I was still the same person it didn’t matter to them at all.
Then as time passed they started to feel comfortable talking about my sexuality and asked questions. Like for example how does a gay mind works when it comes to sex and relationship, what I find attractive in other guys and who does what in sex and that sort of stuff.”

Won’t let disrespectful remarks bring him down

Looking back, what did it feel like coming out?
“Relieving, in some ways. I admit I became more open, ’cause I wasn’t holding that part of me back anymore. I’m still the same person, my confidence just grew. So coming out felt great. But even tough it was overall pretty easy for me, it doesn’t have to be for other athletes. There can be many reasons for that, most importantly family and dressing room situations. Some athletes are for example open about their sexuality with family and best friends, but that doesn’t mean they are ready to open up to the sports industry as a whole.”

Do you think the Icelandic sports industry is discriminating against gay athletes?
“Overall the sports industry, at least in Iceland, is tolerant towards gays. I think athletes really don’t care that much about homosexuality. It’s mostly the people around them that have issues with it and by that I’m mean the fans and sponsors.
In Iceland the sponsor part doesn’t matter that much. Abroad it can make a lot of difference what the sponsors think because athletes, who are big names, have to maintain a certain image.
Fans are as different as they are many. However you find difficult ones everywhere.
Supporters of other teams have on occasions made disrespectful remarks about my sexuality. It’s not nice to hear but I know better than take them seriously. I don’t waste my energy by getting bothered. After all they wouldn’t be saying those things unless I was playing well against their team and more importantly, because they are ignorant.”

What about globally?
“Abroad and at a higher level the sports industry is not quite as tolerant. Yet. It’s definitely moving into the right direction, but there is still a long way to go. Once athletes continue to come out publicly, I think the conditions will become much better and different from say 5, 10 or 20 years ago, because western societies have changed a lot.”

Going public meant a lot for many

What kind of reaction did you get after going public with your story?
“Younger guys and coaches have thanked me for speaking out publicly, because it showed people I wasn’t a lesser athlete because of my sexuality, and that seems to have made a difference in certain situations. Guys have also talked to me about being gay. However those conversations are confidential. Others have to come out on their own terms, when or rather if they’ll be ready to do so.”

You seem very confident about being gay.
“Yes. At least I don’t hide my sexuality from anyone. I haven’t got any regrets about coming out and I’m not sorry about being gay. I accepted it a long time ago and now I’m just gay. It doesn’t change who I hang out with or what my interests are. I have gay and straight friends and I still like all the things I liked before I came out. Being gay is just one of the things I am. It doesn’t define me in any way. I’m just a guy that happens to be gay.”

Do you think discrimination against gay athletes will ever cease to exist?
“I’m afraid it will never stop, just like African athletes are still target of racial slur. Society will never be totally free of prejudice and discrimination. There will always be people who’ll see to that. That’s something we’ll have to live with and to remember to hold our head high.”

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


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