The OutGames Scandal: Reykjavík would have been perfect

Outrage has replaced the OutGames after the 2017 World OutGames planned to take place in Miami this week were cancelled last minute. Former board co-Presidents of GLISA, Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association, have called upon the current members to dissolve the association and halt all current and future activities.

“I fear it‘s all over for GLISA, it‘s the end of the World OutGames,“ says the project manager of the bid of Reykjavík City, which competed with Miami over hosting the 2017 games.

Due to disappointing numbers of registrations and financial woes the event’s organizers announced the games had been cancelled, just 24 hours before the opening ceremony scheduled for the 26th of May.

Ingi Thor Busk, who was event manager at Reykjavík City in 2013 when the bids took place, says the gay community is outraged.

“It is with deep regret that due to financial challenges, World OutGames must cancel opening and closing ceremonies and sports programming with the exception of aquatics, country western dance and soccer. The Human Rights Conference and cultural programs will continue as planned. We thank everyone who has supported the effort and apologize to those who will be impacted by this difficult decision,” read an announcement sent to everybody involved, including participants who some were already in Miami or on their way there.

Ingi Thor Busk, who was event manager at Reykjavík City in 2013 when the bids took place, says the gay community is outraged. “This is scandalous; people feel cheated because what’s happened didn’t just happen. It was obvious long time ago that this tournament was never going to kick off.”

Ingi says that Reykjavík City decided to bid for the 2017 OutGames after receiving enquiries and encouragement from members of the gay community all over the world. “This was a huge process that started in 2012 and we put a lot of work into it.”

“I think they really wanted to bring the OutGames to the United States at almost any cost. But … it was obvious that the organizers were in over their heads; GLISA should have cancelled this in January the latest.”

The bid was thoroughly prepared in collaboration or with the support of the most significant government bodies as well as human rights bodies and consultants such as the manager of ÍSÍ (The National Olympic and Sports Association of Iceland), the mayor of Reykjavík, the President of Iceland, the then prime minister of Iceland, openly gay Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, and her cabinet, The Minister of Culture ,VisitReykjavík, Meetin Reykjavík, Reykjavik Human Rights Office, Samtökin ’78, Pink Iceland Travel Agency, Saga Film, KPMG and more.

“We did a very thorough job and spent weeks and months of preparing an awesome bid with an honest presentation,” Ingi recalls.

Six cities initially applied for hosting the 2017 OutGames but only two made it to the short list, Reykjavík and Miami Beach.

The Icelandic bid was thoroughly prepared in collaboration or with the support of the most significant government bodies in Iceland, such as then Prime minister, openly gay Johanna Sigurdardottir and her cabinet.

“We never doubted we’d be shortlisted; no other city was offering what we could because we had the government, the city council and some major organizations and institutes behind us,” Ingi says, adding that Miami Beach didn’t offer anything like that.

“They had nothing; their bid was badly structured and their presentation, I am told, awful. When the decision was made in Antwerp, my team presented our bid first and then of course left the meeting room while Miami did theirs. And while we were waiting there outside, we saw people just leaving, they said the presentation was bad and that their bid was awful.”

One of many things that Reykjavík could offer was a safe environment for the LGBTQI athletes, whereas a city such as Miami – which is in top 20 when it comes to US cities with the highest crime rates – would need to take more extreme measures in securing the safety of the participants. “But when they were asked about that, they had no answers. It was as if it hadn’t even occurred to them that security was something that people would be very concerned about, you know, LGBTQI people getting together in a US city. It was unbelievable, they hadn’t thought of that!” Ingi says, obviously still stunned by that; after all, Florida state is rather accommodating to guns whereas not even police officers in Iceland carry firearm.

And yet, Miami Beach eventually won the bid, which surprised many, not only the Icelandic project team in Antwerp, according to Ingi. “The way it works is that members of GLISA (Gay and Lesbian International Association) all over the world, watch the online broadcast from the presentations and then everybody casts a vote. We have

“When the decision was made in Antwerp, my team presented our bid first and then … Miami did theirs … They had nothing; their bid was badly structured and their presentation, I am told, awful.”

to take into account that the only Icelandic members of GLISA was Pink Iceland so there was only one Icelandic vote; perhaps that was our mistake, we should have secured more Icelandic votes because apparently, it was very close.”

Ingi says there have been rumours since about how Miami Beach won the bid but he doesn’t want to comment on that publicly. He believes the biggest fault lies with the GLISA board. “I think they really wanted to bring the OutGames to the United States at almost any cost. But they should have seen from the start that this was never going to work out. And they should have cancelled the event long time ago, it was obvious that the organizers were in over their heads; GLISA should have cancelled this in January the latest.”

According to the Miami Herald, shortly after GLISA announced the cancellation of the 2017 World OutGames, Miami Beach Police and the State Attorney’s Office announced they were opening a fraud investigation.

An open letter from the former board co-Presidents of GLISA International urging the current board to halt all current and future activities.

But Ingi says the whole idea was faulty from the start. “I, personally, never had any faith in the bid from Miami Beach. I hope I don’t sound bitter or angry but I said to my team when we were in Antwerp that if Miami Beach would win the bid, it would mean the end for GLISA and the World OutGames. You can quote me on that; I was just so certain that they’d never pull this off.” And unfortunately Ingi may have been right. People are bothered and hurt after the cancellation of the games and Ingi says it looks as though GLISA’s reputation is ruined. “There’s no respect or trust left.”

He adds that LGBTQI athletes in general were simply not keen on going to Miami for the games. “And it didn’t help when Donald Trump was voted president. None of us are going to pop over to the States just for fun these days, especially those of us who are fighting for equality and human rights; we’re not going to put our money into the US economy.”

The few participants who had made plans to travel to, or had already travelled to Miami are not happy and expect to be compensated. The LGBTI sports society is fuming, this is not a hiccup that GLISA can easily get rid of, this is a mammoth sized scandal and at the moment, hardly anyone believes that the 2021 World OutGames will take place in Buenos Aires.

In fact, three former co-Presidents of GLISA issued a statement on Wednesday, urging the current presidents to put GLISA out of its misery; wind up and liquidate GLISA International. They stress that the association was formed in 2005 to make the international LGBTQI community stronger in three areas: sports, culture and human rights.

“GLISA International was created by and for the participants of the 3 pillars. It is therefore heartbreaking to witness the failed delivery of the 4th WorldOutGames in Miami. Because of this downfall, the momentum and global support for GLISA’s community and its unique concept has vanished.”

The ILGA Championships which were held in Reykjavik in 2012 were a roaring success. Photo/www.pexels.com

“This is just horrendous. You want to be angry at someone but there’s not really anyone to be angry at,” says Ingi. “First and foremost, I’m incredibly sad, it’s such a shame this happened, and after all the work we’ve done. We should all be in Reykjavík right now, celebrating and doing amazing things. But that’s never going to happen now.”

Had the World OutGames be held in Reykjavík, the organizers would have anticipated 8-10,000 participants from all over the world. “It would have been so festive, we would have had all the main events in the same area, Laugardalur, so there would only have taken a few minutes to transport between venues, all participants would have been accommodated in Reykjavík which is a small city and they would all have been able to be treated like first class citizens. I have no doubt that we could have shown what a model city Reykjavík is in terms of respect for people and human rights. Or as we said in our presentation: “In Iceland we don’t tolerate you, we celebrate you!” This is such a tragic end to something that could have been so great.”

Main photo: www.pexels.com

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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