Progress and setbacks

[dropcap size=small]W[/dropcap]ith the blink of an eye 2013 is over. Considered by many to be on of the most trying (or plainly boring) years in recent history, but we here at Gayiceland.is like to remember it for other things. Lets see what some of our hardworking journalists and columnists have to say about all the great and encouraging accomplishments which made up 2013, as well as the dispiriting setbacks, and what they look forward to in the next 12 months.

A blossoming community

My year has been very interesting in every way. From trying out some new work projects to travelling to places I’ve nevApriler been to before. It has also been my big year of introspection.

What I think has been most interesting though when it comes to the gay community in Iceland this year, is how much it’s growing and blossoming in every way. Coming out of the closet is constantly getting more “normal” and well greeted. Also people are getting more confident about themselves when it comes to coming out of the closet and I think it’s absolutely amazing.

What I mostly look forward now are the new adventures that await me. 2014 is probably the most unplanned year in a long time so I’m excited what it has to offer. This month I’ll move to Indonesia and continue my university studies. Other than that I’m excited to see what happens.

Apríl Smáradóttir.

The Russian Elephant

I like to make lists. They’re fun, easy to make and even easier to read. So here ElínEsthergoes.

My personal highlight of 2013:
Seeing my son turn 1-year-old, and being a part of his life. Yes … I’m that corny.

The positive results of the 2013:
Marriage equality is spreading across the globe, slowly but surely.

The short-lived happiness of 2013:
Same sex couples who got married in Australia, only to become “unmarried” in December.

The backward thinking of 2013:
Same sex marriages actually became illegal in Nigeria. Didn’t they get the memo?

“Nice guys” of the 2013:
Ugandan parliament approved the Anti-homosexuality bill. In its original form the bill made homosexuality punishable by death. When approved, the punishment had been dropped to life in prison. How thoughtful!

The giant-ill-tempered-out-of-control-elephant-in-the-room of 2013:
While Russia is preparing to host the 2014 Olympics, LGTB people in Russia are being oppressed and brutally violated against. Somehow, the rest of the world, including the International Olympic Committee and most financial backers of the game, has chosen to ignore this fact.
The weird part about this all? The sheer amount of photos of topless president Putin in circulation. One has to wonder …

The great expectation of 2014:
I hope to hear loud voices object to the idea it’s OK to have the Olympic Games in Russia. Further more, I hope more and more people realize this simple but powerful truth: Even if people are different from you, in any small or big way, it doesn’t mean you should build walls between you.

Be awesome – be yourself!
Happy new year!

Elín Esther Magnúsdóttir.

On the right side of history

The new year means a lot to me. You see I’ve developed this tradition of going over what I’ve learned from Helgi Omarssonthe past year, done right and wrong. If there are people the I’ve hurt I try to make things right or thank those who have done something for me. I try to come clean and happy into the new year and it’s a nice feeling.

Looking back over this year, the word that comes to mind is knowledge, well, more knowledge. I’ve learned so much. I fell deeper and deeper in love with my boyfriend. That alone teaches you so many things; to listen to your emotions and learn to listen and learn about someone else’s emotions with an incredible depth. Especially to experience that someone else’s happiness is also your own.

I’ve learnt so much about my inner emotions, to take control of my feelings, actions and my own destiny. That comes from experiencing being alone and not having constant traffic around. Knowing what to do with myself in situations like that is a big victory for me. So I’ve managed to fill this void within myself with things that really matter to me. Things that I simply didn’t know existed before.

I’ve also used my time to study other things, for example feminism and gay rights, which mean more to me than ever. Shocking news on the brutal crackdown on gay rights in Russia, Uganda and other places in the world really have cut a wound in my heart. I feel a need to do everything I possibly can do to make a difference. Quoting Michael Jackson, I started with the man in the mirror. It truly is the least I can do.

The spreading legalization of gay marriage made 2013 a great year. Hopefully countries that have allowed gay marriage will continue to inspire other countries to do so and open up people’s eyes around the globe. Supporters will be on the right side of history.

My expectations for this year are simple: be wiser, be better, do better, do more, learn more in all aspects, love more and give more. Take control of things I feel I don’t have enough control over. Continue to fight. In short: be the best I possibly can.

Helgi Ómarsson.

The meaning of equality

On a personal level the year 2013 was pretty good, especially the end of NovemberÍris Ellenberger when I finally finished my P.hD. But even though my head was buried in work throughout the year I could not help but notice the clouds looming over the queer front. Looking back it seems as if every week brought bad news from abroad and here in Iceland we saw the first signs of a backlash in 2013 after more than a decade of consistent gains for the queer rights movement.

Suddenly the pride parade came under attack from the cis straight audience. The reason: queers dared to be overtly political (and semi-nude, god forbid!) instead of purely entertaining. With the visit of the pastor Franklin Graham during the Festival of Hope we even witnessed the rhetoric that homophobia was simply an opinion that should be respected, not a damaging prejudice which severely affects a marginalized group.

In general, 2013 saw strong pushback from the previously “silent majority”, wanting to preserve its privileges. And their message, as Anna Pála Sverrisdóttir, the chair of the National Queer Association, describes it: “You have reached the limits we set for you. You are not allowed beyond this point.”

On the positive side more and more queer people are pointing out that true equality for sexual minorities is not solely based on legal rights but also on the dismantling of values and norms which prioritize cis gender identity and heterosexuality. And what I’m hoping to see in the year 2014 is further exploration of what equality means and how we can obtain it.

Íris Ellenberger.

Hollywood comes out

2013 – Memorable moments
Personally, giving birth… to a M.Sc. thesis. I’m still in recovery. Hopefully the stretch marks will disappear before Eurovision.

On gay isues what struck me this year was the plethora of celebrities coming out of the closet. It seemed like every month someone openly declared him/herself a member of the party of gay. Jodie Foster, Robin Roberts, Charice, Maria Bello, Frank Ocean (dibs), Jason Collins (dibs), Wentworth Miller (dibs!) and the list goes on. Their coming out also got different media treatment than past personal revelations. The news wasn’t splashed all over the front covers of weekly gossip magazines and there were no Barbara Walters sit downs to discuss said revelation. Each came out in their own way whether indirectly during an interview or through a quiet Facebook note. Times are changing in some parts of the world.

On the local front Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Iceland’s first female Prime Minister and the world’s first openly lesbian head of government, became a quite visible figure in the gay community in 2013. Jóhanna took part in the protest against the anti-gay propaganda law at the Russian Embassy in Iceland, she’s presenting at the WorldPride in 2014 and a book about her relationship with wife Jónína Leósdóttir was released. The book was written by Jónína herself. Powercouple indeed!

2014 – What to come
The summer of 2013 blew so hard closeted Republicans considered moving to Iceland (allegedly people) so lots of vitamin D for me por favor. Also, spending a good portion of my disposable income on joyous adventures and checking items off the bucket list. Lastly, now that Dustin Lance Black has a hot new beau, it’s time to release another video girl. Duh.

Regarding gay rights, more progress. Transgender rights legislation was passed in 2013. Hopefully more rights will come our way.

Þór Gunnólfsson.

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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          Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.