For the first time in Iceland’s history, a trans woman has taken on the role of the Lady of the Mountain, the national personification of Iceland, on the country’s National Day.
Festivities are being held across the country today and in Hafnarfjörður, a neighbouring town of Reykjavík, the town’s organisers asked Eva Ágústa Aradóttir to take on the revered duty of being Lady of the Mountain.
“I’m very excited about this and think it’s going to be a fun day,” Eva Ágústa said to GayIceland’s journalist as she was making last preparations for the big event.
The Lady of the Mountain (Fjallkona) is the national personification of Iceland and always makes an appearance on the 17th of June, Iceland’s National Day, wearing the “Skautbúningur” which is the most prestigious type of the women’s Icelandic costumes.
Often portrayed be actresses, the Lady of the Mountain takes the stage and reads a poem, a tradition since the establishment of the Icelandic republic in 1944.
Eva says she had heard a rumour within the trans community that the organisers in Hafnarfjörður were looking for a trans woman. “I thought it would be thrilling but was hesitant at the same time. But when they contacted me a few days later I thought it was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse, a once in a lifetime chance to be the Lady of the Mountain.”
“This is a huge honour … a validation of my being a woman, just as much a woman as all the others who are women in spite of … their variation from the stereotype of a woman. Hopefully, the stereotype is fading in the sense that all kinds of women will be accepted, because we are of all kinds.”
She says that because she felt like she didn’t fit in for so many years, being trans, it’s even more significant to take on this role. “Especially since the Lady of the Mountain is a female incarnation of Iceland, this is a huge honour for me and a validation of my being a woman, just as
much a woman as all the others who are women in spite of what they look like, the colour of their skin, whether they have a disability or any other variation from the stereotype of a woman. Hopefully, the stereotype is fading in the sense that all kinds of women will be accepted, because we are of all kinds.”
Eva Ágústa is raised in Hafnarfjörður so is a local. She’s artistic and creative, a trained photographer and very active in the LGBTQI+ society in Iceland. She says that through the years, she hasn’t celebrated the 17th of June especially. “But when I feel like it, I join the crowd downtown and watch the entertainment.”
“I’m very excited about this and think it’s going to be a fun day.”
This year however, she will certainly be the focus of the attention, taking the stage to read a poem by Bryndís Björgvinsdóttir, another local woman.
“I’ve never done anything like this, never participated formally in the festivities and of course never been a Lady of the Mountain anywhere,” Eva explains. “I’m not used to being in the public eye but I do have some experience of public speaking so that’s not entirely new to me. But this will certainly be exciting.”