ÍSÍ, Samtökin ’78 and Styrmir to fight queer prejudice in sports

The National Olympic and Sports Association of Iceland, ÍSÍ, met today with Samtökin ’78 and Styrmir Sports Club to discuss how the three organisations can tackle queer prejudice with in the sports  movement in Iceland. The chairman of Styrmir says that he’s very pleased with the outcome of the meeting.

“I joined Styrmir’s swimming team in 2008 to be able to exercise in a fun company. I’ve always been a keen swimmer but with Styrmir I really started enjoying the sport as we had a great coach (Hafdís Erla) who managed to create great atmosphere within the group. The first year we were training to compete in the first international tournament that Styrmir participated in: the Outgames in Copenhagen in July 2009. There were quite a few of us who went there and it was amazing, we returned with a stack of medals. After that, we hosted an international swim tournament, the IGLA Championship here in Reykjavík in 2012.
“I joined Styrmir’s swimming team in 2008 to be able to exercise in a fun company. I’ve always been a keen swimmer but with Styrmir I really started enjoying the sport as we had a great coach (Hafdís Erla) who managed to create great atmosphere within the group,” recalls Jón Þór Þorleifsson, chairman of Styrmir Sports Club.

“It was a great meeting, to put it lightly,” says Jón Þór Þorleifsson, chairman of Styrmir Sports Club, who has just stepped out of a meeting with the head of ÍSÍ, The National Olympic and Sports Association, to start discussions about how to develop queer education amongst sports clubs in Iceland.

“This was just the first meeting and things won’t change overnight, but we are definitely going to form an extensive collaboration to eliminate prejudice against queer people in sports. So the plan is that we continue this together; Samtökin ’78 have a lot of educational material that can be adjusted to the needs of the sports clubs so we’ll probably hold a meeting again soon and take the next step together.”

Jón Þór sounds really excited and by no means wants to blame ÍSÍ for allowing prejudice to exist. “I was really happy to see how much anti-prejudice material ÍSÍ already has – they’ve established ethical rules in every club and so on, but it’s a massive organization with thousands of members so the follow-up might have been a bit tricky. But we all agree, it’s not cool to have prejudice, neither against queer people nor anyone else.”

Styrmir is a queer sports club and as Líney Rut Halldórsdóttir, the secretary-general of ÍSÍ, revealed in an interview with GayIceland last month, the association wants to collaborate with the national queer organization Samtökin ’78 and Styrmir to prepare the queer education. “ÍSÍ contacted Samtökin ’78 right after GayIceland opened the discussion and since then, the board of Samtökin and Styrmir have met for talks. I’m convinced that collaboration between the three organizations will lead to something good,” Jón Þór adds, but the meeting that was held today included the leaders of both Samtökin and Styrmir, as well as Líney Rut and Ragnhildur Skúladóttir, director of education within ÍSÍ.

What can Styrmir possibly bring to the table? “You could call us, and Samtökin ’78, some sort of professional advisors,” Jón Þór says and laughs. “But we just have to wait and see how this all plays out.”

“ÍSÍ contacted Samtökin ’78 right after GayIceland opened the discussion and since then, the board of Samtökin and Styrmir have met for talks. I’m convinced that collaboration between the three organizations will lead to something good.”

Styrmir was established as a football club in 2006 and will celebrate its 10th anniversary later this year. Was the initial aim to create a hub for gay men who didn’t feel that they fitted in with other football clubs? “Yes and also to come up with a new venue for guys to meet and hang out together. It started small, with a few guys gathering in Klambratún park to kick a ball but very quickly the group grew bigger and they organized regular trainings, which then led to them participating in football tournaments abroad as well as hosting one here in Iceland.”

When reading old interviews with the earliest members of Styrmir, they often say that they retreated from sports because of prejudice or fear of coming out to their team mates, and despite an overall decrease in homophobia and more supportive laws and regulations, the newer members are complaining about similar things now, ten years later. Have things not changed that much in the last decade?

"The first year we were training to compete in the first international tournament that Styrmir participated in: the Outgames in Copenhagen in July 2009. There were quite a few of us who went there and it was amazing, we returned with a stack of medals. After that, we hosted an international swim tournament, the IGLA Championship here in Reykjavík in 2012," says Jón Þór, here marching with members of Styrmir in the Reykjavík Pride.
“The first year we were training to compete in the first international tournament that Styrmir participated in: the Outgames in Copenhagen in July 2009. There were quite a few of us who went there and it was amazing, we returned with a stack of medals. After that, we hosted an international swim tournament, the IGLA Championship here in Reykjavík in 2012,” says Jón Þór, here marching with members of Styrmir in the Reykjavík Pride.

“I think that a lot of things have changed within the sports association as well as society as a whole. We do benefit from the privilege that prejudice isn’t a serious problem in Iceland. But obviously, there are bad apples everywhere although individuals who have problems with homosexuality are getting fewer and fewer, thankfully.”

What about Styrmir Sports Club, can anybody join, queers, trans people, bisexuals, straight people etc? “Yes, everybody’s welcome! After all, we emphasize that we’re a sports club without prejudice.”

Which sports are being exercised within Styrmir and how many members are there? “There are regular running and swimming practises. We’ve paused our football and volley ball training for a while but they will probably resume in the fall. There are a few dozen members but as with any club, members’ participation can fluctuate so we simply adjust the timetable to that.”

Is there still need for a club such as Styrmir? “I would say there’s much need for it yes, both as a sports club,” says Jón Þór, referring to the results of an informal survey amongst members of queer Icelandic internet groups which show that 89,2 percent of those whose answered believe that a club such as Styrmir needs to exist, and roughly 86 percent of them believe that Styrmir should be more visible. “But,” adds Jón Þór, “there is also need for Styrmir as a venue for people to meet and get together. Apart from the sports training, Styrmir has organized various events throughout the years, everything from BBQ parties to an international swimming tournament with 500 competitors.”

“I think the need for a club like Styrmir is always going to be there, since it also serves as a way of socialising outside the pitch.”

But supposedly, there will be less need for Styrmir if ÍSÍ succeeds in making every body feel more welcome in their sports clubs? “I think the need for a club like Styrmir is always going to be there, since it also serves as a way of socialising outside the pitch. Of course we all dream of living in a society that’s completely without prejudice but I believe that Styrmir will always be there for us.”

The first year we were training to compete in the first international tournament that Styrmir participated in: the Outgames in Copenhagen in July 2009. There were quite a few of us who went there and it was amazing, we returned with a stack of medals. After that, we hosted an international swim tournament, the IGLA Championship here in Reykjavík in 2012.
Styrmir has organised various events (not just sports related) since the club was founded ten years ago. The club for example hosted an international swim tournament, the IGLA Championship in Reykjavík in 2012. On that occasion members of Styrmir were pictured with former mayor Jón Gnarr (photo top right).

See also: Queer athletes are silenced and ignored • Guðjón Valur: Coaches need queer education • Samtökin ’78: More than willing to assist ÍSÍ

Photos: Courtesy of Jón Þór Þorleifsson and Styrmir Sports Club.

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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