From a grey soviet city to a festival of color, campness and culture

Reykjavik Pride takes over the city like it would in any other European capital (learn the lesson, Istanbul) and is a wonderful opportunity for both party and protest. For six days, the queer people of Iceland take to the streets, covering everything in rainbows and glitter, to celebrate their bizarre deviations from the norm and to demand special rights.

Wanda Starr has made a name for herself as the a blogger on Guide to Iceland and as a member of the performing arts group Drag-Súgur.

It’s absolutely hilarious. You get to see boys kissing boys, people dressed in the wrong clothes, even women riding motorcycles (which I hope, for their safety, are being remotely controlled by their husbands). I know that all those things sound incredibly dark and dangerous, but with all the sparkles and rainbows, it’s like watching a Disney Channel realisation of Sodom and Gomorrah.

I initially refused to go to Reykjavík Pride when I arrived, as I couldn’t fathom what anyone in Reykjavík had to be proud of. If you’ve read my blogs at Guide to Iceland, you’ll know how I feel about such Wildlings. Upon discovering what it actually meant, however, I was intrigued to see whether the LGBTQIA community could bring any camp to this bleak, miserable city.

Turns out, they effortlessly could. It was awe-inspiring; for the first time ever, I was seeing culture in Iceland without watching international television. I’ve been an avid attendee ever since, and I’m not the only one who loves it. Up to a hundred thousand people come downtown to watch the Pride parade, a third of the country. It’s a shame that the other two thirds are so homophobic, but as we know, Icelanders are an incredibly bigoted people, proven by the fact that we can’t trust statistics.

This year is due to be the biggest yet.

“I initially refused to go to Reykjavík Pride when I arrived, as I couldn’t fathom what anyone in Reykjavík had to be proud of … however, It was awe-inspiring; for the first time ever, I was seeing culture in Iceland without watching international television.”

The entertainment promises to be non-stop; the best talent of Reykjavík (still admittedly mediocre by international standards) will be out performing all over the city. The Icelandic drag troupe, Drag-Súgur, will be having a legendary special guest of their own, who will be performing in their blowout Extravaganza. I’m not saying she’s world famous, I’m not saying she’s won crowns, and I’m saying she’s been a serious contestant on Rupaul’s Drag Race, because it’s me!

Though my four-minute performance will no doubt be the highlight of everybody’s festival, there will be events going on in the build-up to and aftermath of it. Many of these occur during Saturday and Sunday, and are attended by the tens of people who aren’t in bed with alcohol poisoning.

The parties do get wild – admittedly the best I’ve been to in Reykjavík. I don’t know what happened last time, I don’t know what I did, but each morning during Pride I woke up with two fistfuls of money and a bed full of Kurdish men. You can’t say no to that.

The weekdays are packed too. You can attend the screening of a queer movie… I guess Sex in the City 2 or something. You can also learn about the stigma and prevention of sexual health, and decide for yourself which one we should increase and which we should decrease. There are also seminars where you can learn about sexual minorities who are less visible, such as those on the asexual spectrum, who sadly chose grey as the main color of the flag so are harder to see at the Pride events.

“August 8th to 13th will no doubt be the only six days worth visiting in Iceland. Reykjavík changes from a grey, barrent, soviet city with an air best described as ‘Chernobyl-y’ to a festival of color, campness and culture.”

Reykjavík Pride is not just for grown-ups; many parents bring their children to join into the fun.

This is a wonderful way for new generation to understand the fluidity of gender, the celebration of the self, the diversity of sexuality and the undeniable thrill of BDSM.

It’s also a great chance for gay men and women to indoctrinate the fascinated kids, ensuring the survival of this wild party for years to come.

To conclude, the days of August 8th to 13th will no doubt be the only six days worth visiting in Iceland. Reykjavík changes from a grey, barren, soviet city with an air best described as ‘Chernobyl-y’ to a festival of colour, campness and culture.

Bring your most colourful clothing, all the sexual protection you can fit in your bag, and turn the portrait of Jesus you have hanging to face the wall in shame, because Reykjavík Pride is upon us.

Main photo: Sigurþór Gunnlaugsson


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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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