Nothing to fight for

Have we done it? Can we pack up and go home? Are we … equal?

Psychiatrist Óttar Guðmundsson probably didn‘t mean to offend anyone* when he wrote a column (published yesterday) about how queer people are facing a crisis because they have nothing left to fight for.

But he did.

In fact, his column sparked a wave of shocked response from people who do not agree when he wrote: „But the times changed in a flash. During the 21st century, the struggle [for the right to a normal life] succeeded in most ways. Persecutions were no more and gays became a natural part of society. […] Some even lost their martyrdom associated with being a persecuted minority. Normal life turned out to be quite boring, in the end.“

Queer martyrdom.
As it turns out queer people find “normal life” quite boring and are now trying to cling on to their martyrdom, according to the good doctor.

When reading his column it‘s worth noting that dr. Guðmundsson isn‘t just any ol‘guy. Apart from his many other accomplishments, he has decades of experience working with transgender people in Iceland, for example.

Within their circles, he has sometimes been called „the gatekeeper“. He has been the man who says yes or no to transgender people seeking treatment. The only person in the whole country who could make the decision. And although his decisions have hopefully been based on the best knowledge he has had*, each time, they have often meant broken dreams – broken lives – for his „patients“.

But more importantly in this context, and I guess some people might miss my point and only see this as a cliché*, he is a straight, middle-aged, able-bodied, white cis-male. A breed that (and I‘m in no way trying to belittle dr. Guðmundsson) is terribly ill-equipped to discuss queer rights, privilege or prejudice.

You see, it‘s not easy to put yourself in the shoes of a person you have very little in common with. How would you? You can‘t tell an orange you know how it feels, because you once had a spray-tan.

“…even though the good doctor may be trying to offer a new perspective to the history of queer rights*, in reality he‘s just adding to the ever flowing river of sometimes-well-meaning, most-of-the-time-missing-the-point speeches…”

So even though the good doctor may be trying to offer a new perspective to the history of queer rights*, in reality he‘s just adding to the ever flowing river of sometimes-well-meaning, most-of-the-time-missing-the-point speeches, blogs and comments from people who perhaps should be asking the experts, rather than playing them.

Let‘s imagine the struggle of minorities for equal rights as people trying to scale a wall of segregation, and that with every battle won a few stones are removed from the top of the wall.

The ban on gay men donating blood is one of the “stones” that are still very much in place in Iceland.

For the people standing at the top of the social ladder, it doesn‘t take long before the wall seems quite smaller and more manageable from up there. „Heck! It seems to have pretty much disappeared!“ they may say. „Looks like them folks are going to be cursed with our boring, everyday life from now,“ they may even say, and be terribly pleased with the whole thing*.

But for those living on ground level, where the struggle takes place, it doesn‘t matter if the height of the wall is six meters or sixty meters, it is just as impossible to scale. And even when the height is down to one and a half meter, and the minority in question can manage to get across with great efforts, it is still a struggle. And the struggle won‘t be over until the very last stone of the wall has been removed and thrown off the cliff of human rights victories, into the deep pits of embarrassing history.

Stones that are very much in place in 2015‘s Iceland, like:

• Passports with only two gender options.
• A ban against gay men donating blood.
• Different rules for lesbian couples when it comes to assisted fertilization.
• Bullying and violence against queers at schools, work and public places.
• Medicalization of attributes associated with queer people.
• Hate speech being promoted under the cover of freedom speech.
Having to live under two different names for a year or two at the beginning of gender transitioning.
• Priests having the right to deny some couples their services, despite being public servants.
• Doctors performing unnecessary operations on intersex infant‘s genitalia.
• Being denied work or housing because of how you identify yourself.
• Having to adopt your spouse‘s children to be considered their parent.
• A committee deciding if you‘re fit for being the gender you identify as.
• Not being binary, and therefore not having your rights protected by law or the constitution.

Unfortunately (in a way), to those who have never faced such a wall, a meter and a half is the same as no wall at all. And this gives them next to no understanding of what it‘s like.

And as the gender-neutral marriage law is only five-year old and law on transgender rights only three-year old, what rights exist today can‘t really be seen as to have come overnight, can they?

Well, compared to our Earth‘s history, the whole of human evolution has merely taken the blink of an eye … so maybe I‘m not looking at this in the right context?

Going from being imprisoned to being allowed to marry in less than a hundred years, that‘s pretty fast, right? Even if you still can‘t guarantee a priest would do it?



*I’m not pretending to know.

Main photo: Gatekeepers and guards come in many guises. As can be seen from this photo depicting workers starting on the Berlin Wall in August 1961. A soldier stands guard and makes sure the public doesn’t interfere.

Á. Óskarsson
Á. Óskarsson

Á. Óskarsson offers a variety of products and services to sports centers, swimming pools, schools, kindergartens, and the general public. The company specializes in sport-related products, activity-focused games, and a wide range of solutions for sports facilities.

Á. Óskarsson has been involved in numerous big projects related to building sports facilities and has made it their benchmark to offer good quality products and equipment since the company was founded.

See links to social media in the upper left-hand corner


Á. Óskarsson selur fjölbreytt vöruúrval fyrir íþróttahús, sundlaugar, skóla og leikskóla og einnig ýmsar vörur til einkaafnota. Fyrirtækið selur vörur til íþróttaiðkunnar og leikja ásamt því að bjóða upp á ýmsar lausnir fyrir íþróttamannvirki.

Á. Óskarsson hefur komið að fjölda stórra verkefna við byggingu íþróttamannvirkja og hefur frá stofnun kappkostað að bjóða vandaðar og endingargóðar vörur.

Tenglar á samfélagsmiðla eru í efra horninu vinstra megin.



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    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.

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




        Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) is a global technology company serving the capital markets and other industries. Our diverse offering of data, analytics, software and services enables clients to optimize and execute their business vision with confidence.

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        Blue Lagoon
        - One of the 25 Wonders of the World

        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
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        - 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%.

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        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.

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        VSÓ Ráðgjöf


          VSÓ Ráðgjöf er alhliða ráðgjafar- og verkfræðifyrirtæki sem leggur áherslu á trausta og faglega þjónustu sem tryggir viðskiptavinum hagkvæmustu lausnir hverju sinni, skilar raunverulegum árangri og stuðlar að samkeppnisforskoti.  Á skrifstofum VSÓ í Reykjavík og í Noregi starfar yfir 80 manna samhentur hópur verkfræðinga og annarra tæknimenntaðra starfsmanna.

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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.

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          You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

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