[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.
My year has been very interesting in every way. From trying out some new work projects to travelling to places I’ve never 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.
I like to make lists. They’re fun, easy to make and even easier to read. So here goes.
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.
The new year means a lot to me. You see I’ve developed this tradition of going over what I’ve learned from the 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.
On a personal level the year 2013 was pretty good, especially the end of November 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.
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.