Meet Tótla I. Sæmundsdóttir, GayIceland’s new assistant editor.
GayIceland proudly presents it’s new assistant editor, Tótla Sæmundsdóttir, who will work closely with our chief editor and says she hopes to contribute to making GayIceland even greater than it already is. But who is she and what is her story? We got in touch with Tótla and demanded to know everything there is to know about her.
You’re the new assistant editor of GayIceland, congratulations on that. How do you feel about taking on this new role? “I’m really excited to take on this new role. I have been following GayIceland for years and I’m thankful for this medium. I’m happy that our small queer community in Iceland has a voice through these articles and interviews.”
You already have a background in the media, tell us about that?
“I was working for Channel 2 news (fréttir Stöðvar 2) for almost a decade. I’m a graphic designer so I’ve been working on news graphics/infographics for TV, the web and newspapers. I’m a news addict and fascinated by how we deliver information. I think we have less and less attention span. We are bombarded by information overflow every single day so we need to think of new ways to stand out. I’m constantly thinking about how we can make things interesting but still deliver honest information.
I’ve also been the editor for Reykjavik Pride magazine for the past two years, which has given me a great insight into our community. I’ve been so lucky to meet and talk to interesting people about their struggles and achievements.”
Apart from what you’ve done, who is Tótla Sæmundsdóttir?
“I’m a lesbian and a proud member of the LGBT+ community. I have worked regularly as a volunteer for both Samtökin ’78 (The National Queer Organization) and Hinsegin dagar (Reykjavík Pride). At Samtökin I have focused on humanitarian projects that are close to my heart like asylum seekers and queer parenting. For Hinsegin dagar it’s been writing, editing and graphics.
I’m a mother of two fantastic girls, Úlfhildur Katrín (4) and Eyrún (2). I can never stop bragging about them, they are everything to me and also the most interesting people on the planet, well, to me at least. My favourite days is just doing everyday stuff with them like going swimming or to the library. I’m a divorcée and single. My kids split their time between me and my ex wife. I think I value the time I have with them a lot more now than I did before.
I have a big family, that I’m close to, and we have these weekly Thursday dinners at my parents house where we go over our week, discuss politics and what happened during the week. It’s kind of like living in some stereotypical Italian-American film. The loudest one is always right. I’m easily fascinated by people and get easily tired by them as well. My family use to describe me as a social loner. I have a big wonderful group of friends but then I really need my alone time as well.
I have geeky hobbies. I really love sci fi, superhero and bad horror movies. I love board games and I also founded a bridge club and that is now my favourite evening of the month. I regularly take up sports that I think I will like, for example sea swimming, skateboarding, climbing etc. but quickly get bored and forget about them.”
Why did you decide to get involved in the fight for LGBT+ rights?
“I have been so privileged. I grew up in a time and a country where I had lesbian and gay role models. I have been able to have children, get married, have the career and the life I wanted and have rarely faced prejudice. It just seems absurd to me that other people don’t have the same opportunities to be who they are and what they want to be. No matter who they are or where they are from.”
Why take on the part of the assistant editor of GayIceland?
“I’m really interested in people in general. Everyone has a story and a background. I’m fascinated by our community, how diverse we are and how it’s been expanding in these last few years. I think it’s amazing how fast we are growing and how quickly things change. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to take part in that and report on our ever changing community.”
GayIceland has for years been reporting on the queer scene in Iceland –
what do you think of the job that’s been done so far?
“I think GayIceland has been doing a great job. It’s been my source to see what is happening in our community. I like how diverse it is and how it covers everything to do with being queer in Iceland. Everything from LGBT+ rights to which bar I should go to when visiting Iceland. I was constantly cursing GayIceland when I was the editor for Reykjavik Pride Magazine. We were working for months on some stories but GayIceland usually had already reported them when the magazine came out. I think Roald has been doing an amazing job with it and I’m excited to help him expand it.”
“I’m fascinated by our community, how diverse we are and how
it’s been expanding in these last few years. I think it’s amazing how fast we are growing and how quickly things change.”
What will your job entail and what do you hope to bring to the table?
“My job will entail mostly working closely with our editor Roald on what we want to report. Looking into stories and hand out assignments to our team of writers. How we want to develop our wonderful queer newspaper further and what we hope to achieve in the future.
I’m hoping that my background in media, knowledge of the community and genuine interest in people will bring something of value to GayIceland. Me and Roald are quite different and approach things differently so I hope that our combined efforts will make GayIceland even better.“