Presidential candidates on queer rights

The Icelandic presidential election will be held on June the 25th. The race is shaping up to be an interesting one with nine candidates running. We decided to ask what their thoughts are on queer rights.

We asked them two questions: Will you exercise your power to fight for the queer rights movement if elected president?

And if you’re elected president of Iceland, will you let Iceland’s stance on the queer rights movement be known when traveling to areas of the world where these rights are broken?


Ástþór Magnússon is running for president for the fourth time. He is an interesting character who usually gets his message across using inventive and creative ways. But what is his take on the queer rights movement?

Ástþór Magnússon.
Ástþór Magnússon.

“I believe that the battle for queer rights has been won in Iceland and that queer people now have the same basic human rights as other individuals in society,” says Ástþór and goes on to answer the latter question.

“I believe that the battle for queer rights has been won in Iceland and that queer people now have the same basic human rights as other individuals in society.”

“As president I will do my best to make sure that human rights are respected all over the world and I want Iceland to lead the way in those matters.”


Sturla Jónsson.

Sturla Jónsson has also run before and his stance on the matter is clear.

“No matter which sex or color we are, we should all have the same human rights and we should respect the rights of others. It’s that simple. It’s written in our constitution.”

Sturla however believes in focusing on Icelandic society before reaching out to the world.

“If I am elected president I will first and foremost focus on the people of Iceland.

So many rights are being broken right here and I believe you first have to tidy your own garden before you offer to help the neighbors with their gardening work. That has been my vision since I was born.”


Business woman Halla Tómasdóttir believes in basic human rights for everyone.

“Yes. The queer rights movement is important, not only for the queer individuals themselves but also for the whole of society.

I want to live in a diverse society where everyone can find ways to make their talent blossom and do their society some good. The queer rights movement is extremely relevant in that aspect,” says Halla.

Halla Tómasdóttir.
Halla Tómasdóttir.
“Iceland should take charge and guide other nations regarding equal rights matters. Especially when it comes to queer issues … it is an obligation of any elected official … to raise awareness.”

“I feel that Iceland should take charge and guide other nations regarding equal rights matters. Especially when it comes to queer issues. I feel that it is an obligation of any elected official to raise awareness internationally and speak for the groups of people who are discriminated against.”


 A mini Pride parade after breakfast

There are two writers in the group of candidates. One of them is Andri Snær Magnason who is also an outspoken environmentalist.

Andri Snær Magnason.
Andri Snær Magnason.

“The Reykjavík Pride Parade has the characteristics of a day of national celebration, much like the ones that were once so apparent on June the 17th, Iceland’s national day. At the Pride Parade you don’t see boy scouts carrying flags because they have to, but people who carry their flag with pure pride. You see a group of people who have fought for their cause and won battles. This group knows that freedom and independence is not a given thing or worn out words from the mouth of politicians,” says Andri Snær.

He will indeed let his voice be heard internationally regarding the queer rights movement. “At the pride parade you see a lot of people who have suppressed their feelings, hid them, been punished for them and been victims to prejudice, discrimination and even violence. You see men that have been driven away from their own country. What you should see are people who took their own life for fear of banishment. You see relatives and friends stepping forward and showing solidarity to their loved ones. The fact that the Icelandic people flock to The Reykjavík Pride Parade each year makes it a huge success because the acceptance of society is a vital part of the queer rights movement.”

“I could contribute to the queer rights movement by dressing up in a Pride costume each morning … I could also put little rainbow flags all over the grass surrounding Bessastaðir, the presidential estate.”

Elísabet Jökulsdóttir is another writer in the group. Her approach is somewhat more creative than most. “I thought I could contribute to the queer rights movement by dressing up in a Pride costume each morning and have a mini Pride walk on my own down the street when I’ve finished my breakfast. You see, I am a very fun person and I want to have fun. I could also put the rainbow flag up on the presidential car once in a while and maybe put little rainbow flags all over the grass surrounding Bessastaðir, the presidential estate. My granddaughter is a lesbian and I have millions of friends who are queer so this is a matter dear to my heart.”

Elísabet Jökulsdóttir.
Elísabet Jökulsdóttir.

Elísabet doesn’t take these issues lightly even though she attacks them with a sense of humor. She believes in making an impact when traveling the world. “The persecution of queer people is a very serious matter. It makes me angry and powerless. People are brought up by society to fear what’s different and people are, for example, executed in Iran just for being homosexual. I think if I were to receive an invitation to, let’s say Russia, that I would show up wearing a ski mask in the spirit of Pussy Riot. If you can’t make an impact in protected parties where everyone is filthy rich I don’t know where you can. These world leaders should be able to change things with something as simple as education.”


Nobody is “normal”

Guðrún Margrét Pálsdóttir is no stranger when it comes to human rights issues since she is one of the founders of the charity organization ABC Children’s Aid. She believes that each individual on this planet is valuable, as does Hildur Þórðardóttir, a healer that is a firm believer of teaching by example.

“As president of Iceland I will do my best to make sure that human rights are respected. I’m a visionary and I’ve worked on the human rights cause all over the world for the last three decades. I will continue to be a spokesperson for those who have had their human rights violated in any way and queer people are of course a part of that group,” says Guðrún Margrét Pálsdóttir.

Guðrún
Guðrún Margrét Pálsdóttir.

She stands by her Christian beliefs that we should treat people like we would like to be treated. “When I travel the world as president I will bring focus to the groups in society that are in a difficult position at any given country. I will try to open national leaders’ eyes and widen their understanding of the issues of the groups in question. I went on a year-long trip around the world thirty years ago which opened my eyes to how many people live in poor conditions, who have nothing, are illiterate, are fighting hunger and persecution. Illiterate people and the homeless, especially street children, are close to my heart but I will of course try to help everyone, who has their human rights violated, to the best of my ability. I will draw attention to the values we Icelanders live by as Christians; that each individual is valuable and that we should treat others like we want to be treated. That applies to all citizens of our community,” says Guðrún.

“I especially adore the great divas and cross-dressing and think it is a fantastic way to learn about gender and social conditioning. Why can’t people dress the way they want to?”

Hildur Þórðardóttir will support the queer rights movement in any way she can if she’ll be elected president. “Everyone is equally important and precious and relationships are in my opinion based on love and respect, not which gender the two people are. Being gay can be very empowering if the person is open about it. Going against the norm or the flow makes us stronger and can help us accept ourselves exactly the way we are. Self acceptance is a lesson that we all need to learn, no matter what our sexual preferences are.

Hildur
Hildur Þórðardóttir.

I think the gay culture enriches our society greatly in so many ways. It expands our horizon and broadens our perspective. I especially adore the great divas and cross-dressing and think it is a fantastic way to learn about gender and social conditioning. Why can’t people dress the way they want to? Why do we need to judge those who dare to be different? Why do we judge at all?
The gay movement  is in many ways a powerful forerunner for other marginalized groups and socially shamed persons. In that way the gay movement is vital for our development as a healthy and shame-free society.

It is very important that it is not forced to hide underground but welcomed into the open. It helps us accept others the way they are and thereby also accepting ourselves the way we are. Nobody is “normal”, even though some people try very hard to be. Everyone is different and equally beautiful and precious. We are all one, brothers and sisters, at the same time as we are all different. Just like flowers in a garden seem like an ocean of color, yet are all different, individually beautiful and perfect in their own way,” says Hildur.

She believes in the power of education and understanding in an international sense. “Yes, I will draw attention to gay rights everywhere I travel abroad as president, just as I will promote peace and compassion for all people wherever I go. Even though the host country is hostile towards gays or very prone to warfare, every word of understanding and peace is like a seed that will someday sprout and grow into a beautiful plant.
I think it is best to teach by example, so by creating a community that openly accepts gay people, we show how to make a caring and broad-minded society. Other societies will follow when they are ready. That reform has to come from within, so by giving attention and support to gay communities in other countries can be very empowering and valuable for them. As long as it doesn’t endanger the people involved.”


A firm believe in the freedom of love

The historian Guðni Th. Jóhannesson has been a front runner in the polls leading up to the election. He belives in equality for all.

Guðni Th.
Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.

“The president should always be concerned with equality. All discrimination and prejudice should be fought against. Also, I am a firm believer in the freedom of love so the short answer would be: Yes,” says Guðni and continues.

“The president is the nation’s advocate abroad, our face in the eyes of the world. Iceland has become known the world around for the positive changes in the rights of LGBTI+ persons. I would proudly reflect that. The freedom of love should exist outside of Iceland as well.”

We finish off with the former prime minister of Iceland and former mayor of Reykjavík, mister Davíð Oddsson. Davíð has long been a fighter for queer rights and that will not change if he gets elected president.

Davíð Oddsson.
Davíð Oddsson.

“I exerted myself in these matters when I was mayor like Þorvaldur Kristinsson, the former director of the national queer organisation Samtökin ’78 can verify. During that time the fight for the queer cause had come a much shorter distance than it has now,” says Davíð, who was mayor of Reykjavík from 1982 to 1991.

“I will without a doubt protect the human rights of queer folk.”

He adds that he will indeed raise the issue when traveling abroad. “I will without a doubt protect the human rights of queer folk.”

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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