The core group of bears behind this year’s events include: Andres Pelaez, Sigurður Júlíus Guðmundsson, Harald Schaller and Jóhannes Helgi Gíslason.

Coming Out Of Hibernation

The Bear Association of Iceland Hosts Bear Party Night at Gaukurinn.

After nearly 7 months of inactivity because of covid, Bangsafélagið, the Bear Association of Iceland, is coming out of hibernation. The group last got together during Reykjavik Pride in August of 2020, another low period for cases between Iceland’s first and second waves. With case numbers low and restrictions eased, bars have opened. The Bear Association welcomes members of the community today, Thursday, March 18th at 18:00 for a Bangsapartý, or Bear Party, at Gaukurinn.

Founded in late 2019 by a group of nine people, Bangsafélagið began by creating and hosting events in Reykjavik after the end of Bears on Ice. Soon they solidified a four-person team to handle the planning and daily operations of the group with various volunteers helping out as needed.

“Reykjavik Bear is the natural continuation of its predecessor – Bears On Ice -, the annual bear event which opened the doors of Reykjavik to the local and international Bear community for a weekend of exceptional fun for 15 years. After one last event in 2019, it was decided to close the chapter and pass on the torch to a new generation.”

Their main event, Reykjavik Bear, is scheduled for September of this year and promises 3 parties, 2 tours to the Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon, and a brunch to top it off. Tickets aren’t currently on sale until proper plans are solidified because of travel restrictions. However with travel opening to tourists from outside of the Schengen area, if they’re vaccinated, the news is looking good.

For today’s event, beer and wine will be offered at happy hour prices until 19:00. Anyone who admires bears or wants to support the community is welcome to attend. Note that covid rules are still in place, and all guests are expected to follow the guidelines. If you’re not feeling well, it’s best to stay home!

GayIceland chatted with Sigurður Júlíus Guðmundsson and Andrés Pelaez, two of the board members, to catch up on all things Bear before their event.
“This will be our first get-together since September. We did a small party for the community the same weekend as the Reykjavík Bear festival should have taken place last year. But since then we have been unable to do anything due to the pandemic.”

“The bear community has been mostly underground for years and we are only taking our first steps out from there now. We feel that this has a lot to do with mainstream body shaming that goes almost unchallenged in Iceland.”

What type of events does Bangsafélagið host?
“So Bangsafélagið is in charge of planning the Reykjavik Bear event in September. This event in normal times would welcome well over a hundred bears from all over the world for a weekend of activities and parties. Apart from this, Bangsafélagið also organizes smaller parties like the one coming up tonight (this Thursday), which we call Bangsapartý. During Reykjavík Pride 2020 we also held a grill party in Klambratún. We have and will continue to play an active role in Reykjavík Pride and we will continue to find new and fun things to do with our community throughout the year. These events are aimed at encouraging members of the bear community to come out and meet other fellow bears and also to give much-needed visibility to the bear community in Iceland.”

What do you feel is the biggest challenge for the Icelandic Bear community? Visibility?
“Oh absolutely. The bear community has been mostly underground for years and we are only taking our first steps out from there now. We feel that this has a lot to do with mainstream body shaming that goes almost unchallenged in Iceland. But it is time for us to come out and be proud of who we are and what we look like and showing people that it’s not only ok to be big and hairy or any other way but it’s also ok to find us attractive and lovable.”

What do you think contributes to the general body shaming here in Iceland?
“This issue has been around for decades, if not longer. The main problem is that people that look different are pushed to the side so easily and we have become used to it. It’s so difficult to make your voice heard when you have been taught all your life to hide and fade into the background. But being part of a community that not only accepts you but celebrates you gives you the confidence to be who you really are and not accept being pushed to the side anymore. Now we also hope to join others who have been outspoken about body shaming and hopefully show people that we really don’t all need to be the same size or have the same look to be accepted and loved.”

What’s your take on bias or judgment from within the gay community?
“Nowadays, the queer community is dealing with a sort of implicit bias that is born and reinvented every day on social media. The guidelines for being physically attractive and youthful are highly unrealistic and a vast majority of the LGBTQI+ population cannot relate to that life experience. We all have stories about being rejected for the way we look in some parts of our lives. But you would think that being rejected for the way we look or just what we are should be rarer within the queer community, but on the contrary, it seems to be much more visible.”

Has either of you experienced adverse reactions from other members of the LGBT+ community?
“I remember when I was 25 and partying in what was called Barbara at the time and this guy comes up to me and starts hitting on me,” says Sigurður. “We talked for a bit but eventually, he asked me about my age. And I told him I was 25. And he just said “oh wow, you are THAT old?” and walked away. But we also have this idea that everyone likes the same thing. It is even expected. I was terrified of letting people know I was attracted to big guys. Coming out as gay was one thing but admitting [my attraction] was a whole other coming out story. And I have found that there are so many others who prefer bigger people, but society still seems to think that being with a big person, or any person who doesn’t fit that tight stereotypical beauty mold, was not the first choice, while in fact it most definitely was for many people.”

“We talked for a bit but eventually, he asked me about my age. And I told him I was 25. And he just said “oh wow, you are THAT old?”

Is Bangsafelagid connected with other bear groups internationally?
“Bangsafélagið has no formal connection yet. However, we have befriended our fellow bear associations in Paris (Les Ours de Paris) and in the Czech Republic (Prague Bears) and have talked with a few others as well. Although the pandemic has slowed this down like so many other things, it is our goal to reach out more and create more connections moving forward.”

What should we expect at tonight’s event?
“We hope that we will see many people coming to meet for a drink and a great time together. I think it’s fair to say there is a craving for human interaction and now is the time to see old friends and make new ones too! We also encourage everyone to support Bangsafélagið so that we may raise awareness of body positivity and visibility to our community. Stay tuned for more information on events, especially for Reykjavik Bear in September. See you all there!”

Á. Óskarsson
Á. Óskarsson

Á. Óskarsson offers a variety of products and services to sports centers, swimming pools, schools, kindergartens, and the general public. The company specializes in sport-related products, activity-focused games, and a wide range of solutions for sports facilities.

Á. Óskarsson has been involved in numerous big projects related to building sports facilities and has made it their benchmark to offer good quality products and equipment since the company was founded.

See links to social media in the upper left-hand corner


Á. Óskarsson selur fjölbreytt vöruúrval fyrir íþróttahús, sundlaugar, skóla og leikskóla og einnig ýmsar vörur til einkaafnota. Fyrirtækið selur vörur til íþróttaiðkunnar og leikja ásamt því að bjóða upp á ýmsar lausnir fyrir íþróttamannvirki.

Á. Óskarsson hefur komið að fjölda stórra verkefna við byggingu íþróttamannvirkja og hefur frá stofnun kappkostað að bjóða vandaðar og endingargóðar vörur.

Tenglar á samfélagsmiðla eru í efra horninu vinstra megin.



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    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.

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      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.




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        Blue Lagoon
        - One of the 25 Wonders of the World

        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
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        The Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

        - 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%.

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        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.

        - 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.

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        VSÓ Ráðgjöf


          VSÓ Ráðgjöf er alhliða ráðgjafar- og verkfræðifyrirtæki sem leggur áherslu á trausta og faglega þjónustu sem tryggir viðskiptavinum hagkvæmustu lausnir hverju sinni, skilar raunverulegum árangri og stuðlar að samkeppnisforskoti.  Á skrifstofum VSÓ í Reykjavík og í Noregi starfar yfir 80 manna samhentur hópur verkfræðinga og annarra tæknimenntaðra starfsmanna.

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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.

          Contact Us

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