“Of course she is still my dad“

Hannes Óli Ágústsson is an actor who, in collaboration with the stage group Trigger Warning, is staging the show She‘s my dad at the City Theatre‘s small stage. Hannes Óli is playing himself in the productions which deals with his reaction to his father coming out as the trans woman Anna Margrét a few years back. Obviously his father‘s story is very much the subject of the show so it seemed fitting to summon them both to a meeting and hear both sides.

“She has the same role in my life as she has always had, so in that regard nothing has changed between us … She‘s always been ‘dad’,“ says Hannes Óli about his relationship with Anna Margrét.

“It’s her story, of course, but it‘s filtered through my experience,“ says the actor Hannes Óli Ágústsson asked if he is telling his own story or his father‘s in the show She‘s my dad (Hún pabbi). As the title conveys the show handles Hannes Óli‘s father’s coming out as a trans woman and their relationship from then on. Hannes Óli was twenty-eight when his father, Ágúst Már Grétarsson called him and asked for a meeting at a café as they had to discuss a certain matter. “I had no idea what my father wanted to talk about,“ says Hannes Óli. “But as dad was not in the habit of asking for meetings in cafés I knew it had to be something serious.“

At this meeting Ágúst told his son that she was in fact a woman and that she had decided to transition and become the woman she is today; Anna Margrét. How did Hannes react to that? “React? How can one react to news like this? I just listened with an open mind, tried to understand and show support. Give her a big hug and tell her I would always be there for her. What else can a son do?“

Not all of the people closest to Anna Margrét had the same reaction. Her daughter took it badly and her wife left, as did some of her friends. “There are no other options than those two,“ Anna Margrét says calmly. “Either people accept this and stay close to you, or they leave you. I can not expect anyone to understand what it feels like, but I can expect them to tolerate it. But if they can‘t I have to respect that.“

“I had digged myself a very deep hole and realised when I was about 55 that I had to go through with the transition or else kill myself. I didn‘t see any other options … It took me all those years to summon the courage to become me.“

Hannes Óli says that he decided on the spot that this would be no secret. “I always answer any questions people have and am open to discussions about all aspects of this. It was actually me who got the discussions ball rolling with an interview in a news paper. The journalist asked me about my father and I decided to be honest and open about it. The interview as a whole was not at all about her, but when the paper was published the headline on the front page ran: She‘s my dad! I ran and called my father to warn her but she just laughed about it.“

“When I was admitting to myself that I was a woman the word trans woman had just been invented and I was afraid that I would be locked up if I confided in someone,” says Anna Margrét. Photo: a still taken from TV show Independent people (Sjálfstætt fólk).

Asked if never in his upbringing Hannes Óli had any suspicions about his father being trans he shakes his head. “Not really. I had seen some hints, but always dismissed them. I found pantyhose in my father’s desk drawer and a photo in the family‘s computer that I found a bit strange, but for a child it takes a lot more than that to doubt that his father is who he says he is. After I moved away, in my twenties, we had a bit of a surprise meeting in the middle of the night, that sowed some speculations in my mind. But I didn’t know anything about what it meant to be trans, so I just put it down as some kind of fetish or that maybe she was a transvestite. I just didn‘t have any insight into this world.“

Anna Margrét was approaching 60 when she decided to transition, why did she feel it was necessary then after living almost 60 years as a male? “It‘s hard to explain,“ she says. “But to put it simply; I had known that I was a woman since I was 14 years old, but always regarded it as a secret that nobody might ever find out. I thought that if I found a wife and had children this would go away, and actually I managed to put it on the underside of my life while the kids were small. It always sizzled in the back of my head though, and I was making experiments with dressing as a woman, reading everything I could find about being trans and I was always aware of being a woman, though I did my best to deny it. At 40 I thought about packing a suitcase and disappearing to the world of

A book about Anna Margrét has already come out, titled She is my dad (Hún er pabbi minn).

woman, but I always put it on hold. But I felt horrible not to be able to be who I am and was very envious of the women around me who were allowed to be feminine. I had always been very active socially but around 50 I had stopped going out and sat at home drinking myself to oblivion. I had digged myself a very deep hole and realised when I was about 55 that I had to go through with the transition or else kill myself. I didn‘t see any other options.“

Anna Margrét admits that many people have asked her if it has been worth turning her life around at that late stage but to her it‘s not a matter of age. “Of course I sometimes wish I had done this sooner, as the older you are the more difficult it is for the change to take effect physically. But when I was admitting to myself that I was a woman the word trans woman had just been invented and I was afraid that I would be locked up if I confided in someone. It took me all those years to summon the courage to become me.“

“Nothing has really changed except that now she is allowed to be who she is which obviously makes her feel better. And if she feels better, I feel better. If anything has changed we have become closer.“

Hannes Óli stands up and offers his dad more coffee, when he comes back I can‘t resist asking why he has not stopped calling her dad. “She is my dad,“ he says laughing. “I don‘t think that has anything to do with her sex. She‘s always been ‘dad’ and I have a mother so that would be really weird to start calling her ‘mom’. Besides she has the same role in my life as she has always had, so in that regard nothing has changed between us. I have to admit that I find it rather cute and funny to talk about her, my dad. I find it funny how afraid people are to say the wrong thing. Some of my friends who have asked me about the show have stammered and blushed when they try to figure out if they should say that the show is about my dad or my mom. It‘s about my dad, of course, who else?“

Hannes Óli and Anna Margrét. Hannes is staging the show She’s my dad in The City Theatre (Borgarleikhúsið), in collaboration with the theatre group Trigger Warning (Halla Þórlaug Óskarsdóttir and Kara Hergils)

Anna Margrét grins. “It is hard for people,“ she says. “Even as the tolerance and understanding has increased enormously people still shy away from the subject because they don‘t know how to talk about it. It‘s not because they don‘t want to, it‘s because they don‘t know how to.“

It‘s obvious that they are very close and fond of each other but has their relationship changed after Anna Margrét came out? “No, not really,“ they say almost in unison. “She is still the same person,“ Hannes Óli points out. “She still goes fishing and is an enthusiastic football fan, nothing has really changed except that now she is allowed to be who she is which obviously makes her feel better. And if she feels better, I feel better. If anything has changed we have become closer. Of course it has brought collateral damage, she and my mom divorced for example, but when one knows the nature of this condition one understands that this has turned out to be for the best, for us all. In the show we try to normalize this, to make people understand that nobody does this unless she/he really needs to, to be able to live the life she wants. Is not that what we all want? To be able to live on our own terms?“

But has Anna Margrét seen the show her son has, with his collaborators in the theatre group Trigger Warning, made about her and their relationship? “No, I have not, I will see it at the premier,“ she says smiling from ear to ear. “I’m very excited, though I have to admit that my stomach gets a little queasy thinking about it. But mostly I‘m excited.“

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.

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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
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      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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          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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