He was born into a family of farmers, raised on the famous dairy farm Erpsstaðir, in region Dalir in West Iceland, along with his four siblings, including a twin brother. His idea of the simple life was quite simple: Find a girl, get married and become an animator. (The cows didn’t really interest him.) But then things took a turn for 16-year-old Guðmundur Kári Þorgrímsson who became an instant Internet sensation when he posted his coming out video.
“I just wanted to make a video to show people that this was for real. And to explain better. If I had just posted some text on Facebook people wouldn’t necessarily read it the right way. I had to tell people for them to know that this was coming from the heart,” Guðmundur frankly says, when asked what made him decide to come out in a YouYube video.
“I didn’t get any help making the video,” he adds. “I did it on my own, but my friends encouraged me. I had already told some of them and at that point I just wanted everyone to know. So they told me to go for it.”
When did you know you were gay?
“I kind of always knew. But you know, you were just supposed to be a boy and supposed to like girls. I just tried to follow.”
Do you think it’s harder coming to terms with being bi or gay if you’re raised on a farm, rather than in the city?
“I don’t know. Wow, I really don’t know.”
“I was afraid of the future – the sequel!”
What was the reaction after you posted the video?
“Really great. Everyone has been super supportive and I haven’t experienced any negative response.”
You just recently started a new school when you posted the video, wasn’t that difficult? Or are you a legend there now?
(Laughs) “No, I can’t say I’m a legend … But I guess most people know who I am. But I’m not like super popular, just known.”
Do you have a boyfriend yet?
“Noooo… But I’m talking to this one guy, that happened after the video.”
What would you like to say to kids who are wondering how to come out?
“I just want to say: When you’re ready, go for it.”
How did you know you were ready?
“I was just content with myself. I just knew who I was.”
Was there a time you felt uneasy with yourself?
“Yes. There was a long period when I didn’t want this. But now I’m loving it!” (Laughs)
“I don’t know, just the attitude. My attitude. The society just tells you that if you’re a boy you should be into girls. That’s how you’re raised. But still my parents are very open-minded and always have been.”
So what were you afraid of if it wasn’t your parents?
“I don’t know. Life, I guess. How life would turn out to be. I was afraid of the future – the sequel.”
How does your twin brother feel about this?
(Sighs) “Oh, I don’t know. I told him, I just said: “Hey I have to tell you something,” and then I told him and he just looked at me and went like: “Yeah, okay, anything else?” He didn’t think it was remarkable at all. Then he just continued with his FIFA-game.” (Laughs.) “We’re very similar appearance-wise but definitely not character-wise.”
“I guess so.”
Have people in similar circumstances approached you after you posted the video?
“Yes, as a matter of fact, a few people have come to me for advice. All kids my age that I didn’t know beforehand. They added me on Snapchat and wanted to talk. We talked and now they’ve all come out as well!”
That’s impressive. Good for you and good for them. Is this something you would like to do? Give advice and pep-talk to people facing this situation?
“I’ve been thinking about it. I would really like to visit schools and give talks. I think that would be fun. Just to tell my story and explain how this all went and that it’s OK to be gay.”
“There was a long period when I didn’t want this. But now I’m loving it!”
Photo: “I dig gymnastics, running, reading, taking pictures, singing and acting. I’m going to be an actor when I get older,” says Guðmundur, when asked about his hobbies, and adds that he hates having nothing to do. Photo taken at the dorm of Akureyri Comprehensive College which Guðmundur says he chose because he wanted to try out something totally different.
Main photo: Guðmundur (in the middle) with his family, father Þorgrímur, mother Helga, sisters Gunnlaug (21), Lóa (22), Tania (11) and brother Einar, alongside family dog Bella at farm Erpsstaðir. Photo by Steina Matt.