“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.“

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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          Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.