The Icelandic Psychological Association will take part in the Reykjavík Pride Parade tomorrow, Saturday August 6th. This marks a turning point in the parade since this will be the first time a professional association takes part in it.
Hrund Þrándardóttir, president of the association, says their message in the parade is clear – to encourage people to embrace their true identity and show their fellow-men and women respect. “I’m so proud that we are taking part in the parade for the very first time. I’m also proud of the fact that we can help to encourage people to be themselves and to respect the diversity all around us. Each and every one of us should be able to flourish and feel good in their own skin,” says Hrund.
Hrund, alongside the board of the association, is joining the Reykjavík Pride Parade tomorrow – for the first time. Furthermore this is first time a professional association takes part in the parade.
“Everyone is asking me what sort of costumes we will wear and how our wagon float is going to look like but we’re just going to walk,” says Hrund and laughs. The association will however carry flags with their logo in rainbow colors with writings that encourage people to embrace their true identity and show their fellow-men and women acceptance.
“I’m so proud that we are taking part in the parade. I’m also proud of the fact that we can help to encourage people to be themselves and to respect the diversity all around us.”
“I first got the idea when I was watching the parade two years. To me this was a no brainer. I mean, why weren’t we visible in the parade? There we find people who are fighting for basic human rights and want to eliminate prejudice with education. I thought it was a perfect fit that psychologists would join that fight, which is fortunately for some not as big of a fight as it used to be. So I took this matter up with the board and each and everyone was game,” says Hrund.
She’s not sure how many psychologist will take part in the parade.“We will see tomorrow but we’ve gotten really positive feedback from many in the field. But I and the board will definitely be there.”
Hrund believes that it is extremely important for professional associations to take part in the parade and the Reykjavík Pride festival. “We are professionals who have watched the development and research regarding mental health for decades. We believe that it is important for us to take part in a festival such as this one because we know what truly matters – that individuals feel as good as they possibly can. That is best for the society as a whole,” says Hrund.
It is of course imperial that everyone that wants to take part in the parade does so but it is also important that professionals show that acceptance, knowledge and education can get us a long way in treating people the way they should be treated,” she continues and adds that in the last years psychologists have seen a massive change in the mental health of those in the LGBTIQ+ community.
“A while back it was thought that there was a connection between homosexuality and anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses. Now we can see that this connection originated in the fact that gay people met prejudice in society and suffered grave human rights violations. Something that would lead anyone down a path of depression and other mental issues. So we can see now in hindsight that homosexuality had nothing to do with it – only how people who were brave enough to come out of the closet were treated.”
Role models are important
Hrund is extremely excited to take part in the parade and believes a festival like Reykjavík Pride is an indispensable part of our society. “There is more talk in the media now and young people who are for example thinking about coming out of the closet know where to turn to. Everything is so open nowadays and it doesn’t matter like it used to who you fall in love with. I remember when I was in elementary school some odd 30 years ago there was no one who came out as gay. Today it is quite “natural” and fortunately we see that young kids can take this step and no one seems to mind,” says Hrund and stresses the importance of role models in that aspect.
“It’s invaluable when people are willing to share their story with the rest of the world and when prominent figures in Icelandic society step forward to support the queer rights battle,” adds Hrund and hopes she can be part of the Pride Parade for many years to come.
“If you want us to come back every year, we sure will.”