New queer social group – “We want to add some life to the scene!”

Come out, come out wherever you are! A new queer social group set to spice up your social calendar.

As we enter what feels like season 3 of ‘What’s going wrong today’ it seems like the regular pattern of staying at home, avoiding other people and just hoping for the best has become almost set in stone. Socialising has become something that is done rarely or only with trusted groups of people for very specified amounts of time. Nothing can be done without vaccination certificates, masks, hand sanitizer and the foreboding feeling that maybe ‘it wasn’t worth leaving the house for this.’
Although lockdowns, restrictions and overall covid cases in Iceland were considerably less than in other parts of the world, many members of the queer and gender diverse communities still felt the effects of the void created by covid.
In recent months, as restrictions began to lift, people have been looking forward to the possibilities that the future can bring. A group of seven individuals in Reykjavík are hoping to inject a little bit of light into the social calendar for queer men starting with a Fabulous Gay Pub Quiz on March 10 at Miami Bar.
The group has started a new social events club called Loki. The current members are; Guðmundur Ólafsson, Unnsteinn Jóhannsson, Hafþór Óskarsson, Vilhjálmur Ingi Vilhjálmsson, Ásgeir Helgi Magnússon, Garðar Þór Jónsson, and Michael Ryan.

Three of the groups members sat down with Gay Iceland to give us the low-down on Loki. Michael, Guðmundur (Gummi) and Unnsteinn.

So tell us about this new group? Why is it called Loki?
Michael:“So the name of our new group is Loki in Icelandic, or Low-Key in English. The Icelandic name comes from the old Norse god Loki who’s famous for being a gender bender. He’s probably one of the most noticeable queer Norse gods. It’s also got a bit to do with our stance on the group, which is open for all. So it’s a bit of a play on words.

Michael Ryan.

In English, Low Key is an idiom that the queer community has adopted as our own. You can hear it all the time in conversations in both languages, for instance, Bassi Maraj describing Þórólfur as “low key daddy” during Skaupið (“The New Year’s Lampoon”, an annual Icelandic television comedy special that is broadcast on the public television network RÚV on New Years Eve). In a way, it means like under the radar or secretive. So we’re using it as a bit of tongue-in-cheek reference.”

What made you want to start this group?
“We feel that there is a big need for some queer social interacting, especially after two years of the pandemic. Even before the pandemic started, there was not that much going on outside of Pride scheduled events and we hope to be able to bring the gay community a little bit closer together.


A few months ago I posted a survey in Hommaspjallið and Hinseginspjallið (Facebook groups for Queer people in Iceland) about the feasibility of another gay/queer bar in Reykjavík and got around 150 responses which really confirmed my thinking that people wanted something more and bit more diversity perhaps.”

Michael:“Of course, there have always been people keeping the queer community going and hosting parties, but it sort of gets passed around. Hosting events can be a ton of work and it’s expensive, so many of the past party planners have maybe done it for a while and then gotten overburdened by it.

It’s the classic house party problem, everyone wants a fun party to go to but no one wants to be the host and clean up the day after, haha. We want to take the initiative and start something up again.”

“What we want to add is some life to the scene! Like, aren’t we all a bit tired of sitting at home, watching Netflix on the couch, and waiting for someone to shake these pandemic blues?”

Gummi:“There’s also a gap that’s formed between generations where younger gays do not necessarily feel the need to mingle with gay-only crowds. Since it’s pretty accepted to be queer in any bar nowadays (in Iceland) a lot of people don’t really see the need for a specific queer space. Of course, this is a good thing in itself as people feel safe to be themselves in more venues now than before, but we still feel the need for this platform.”


Michael:“Yeah, I mean we were discussing at our first “meeting” that there are even queer teens and young adults who have NEVER been to a gay bar because of the pandemic. People who sort of came of age in the middle of the restrictions and have missed out on that first gay community experience because of lockdowns. We want to give them some opportunities to really dive into the deep end and get to know who’s out there. As Gummi said, it’s good that every bar and club is relatively gay friendly now, but we still need time and space for us to just be on our own and let our hair down amongst other queers.”

Unnsteinn:“It has been so great to see how Vera (formally known as Hinsegin ladies nights), has been actively meeting for some years now. They have also been able to gather people from all walks of life together. For me personally I really wanted to see something similar for us, the queer men and non-binary people. After some years thinking and talking about it it was time to take action.”

What makes this group different from other ones in Iceland?
“So this group should be different from other ones in Iceland in a few ways. We’re not really a formal events company or brand, at least not yet. We’re doing these first few events basically with the help of many friends. We’ll see what it evolves into.

Loki isn’t a formal community or political organisation like Samtökin ‘78. We’re basically just some guys who want to get people together and have fun. There have been attempts in the past by others in the community to host big balls or men-only nights or even start a sort of cruising club but there aren’t many people creating a community.


We want to do this through fun pub quizzes, hikes, beer tastings, drag shows, balls, really anything new and exciting. I mean, it’s a brand new group and we’ll see where it goes but why not get 20-25 gay golfers together in the summer for a queer gold competition? Or organise a day at one of Iceland’s many lagoons for a soak?

We’re just brainstorming now but coming together as Loki to host these events gives it some oomph and gets us better deals on drinks and spaces.”

“You are welcome no matter what your gender identity or sexuality, which is why in Icelandic the name is “félagsskapur hinsegin karla og kvára”.”

Michael mentions that for he and Gummi (who are a couple), one of their original inspirations for this group came from friends of theirs who run a company called Pink Stallion Events in New York City.

Michael:“They have a gorgeous house upstate with a big antique barn in the back. We’ve been to a ridiculous drag party there. This summer they had another gay art show where they hosted probably 15-20 queer artists in the barn and even had a hunky model up on stage nude for people to draw/paint live. It’s that kind of stuff we’re missing here in Iceland. Speaking of which, do you know anyone who wants to be drawn and painted in the buff? Let us know, haha.”

Perhaps any budding life drawing models reading this should take this as an invitation for applications.


What do you hope to add to the scene with this group?
“What we want to add is some life to the scene! Like, aren’t we all a bit tired of sitting at home, watching Netflix on the couch, and waiting for someone to shake these pandemic blues? Icelandic weather is depressing enough in the winter, we should be getting together and having a good time if only to beat back that dread. With restrictions completely lifted in Iceland now, we’re taking the opportunity.”

What kind of people are you hoping to attract/ who can participate?
“In terms of who’s welcome, the group is open for all with a focus on queer men. I mean, it’s seven gay men running it, but we don’t want to be exclusive in any way. If you want to bring your gal pals along to the event, the more the merrier! You are welcome no matter what your gender identity or sexuality, which is why in Icelandic the name is “félagsskapur hinsegin karla og kvára”. Just don’t be surprised when two dudes start making out in the corner.”

Unnsteinn:“Basically all queer men/gender queer/ non-binary or however you choose to define yourself, for instance gay, bi/pan, polyamorous, trans, intersex or asexual. We are also hoping for people of all ages, we think that it is really important that it can be a space for all generations.”

Garðar and Ásgeir.

How do you all know each other?
“Well, that is quite interesting to talk about actually. Some of us have known each other for years and some of us have not. Michael and I have been together now for almost four years and Unnsteinn actually reached out to me after I posted the survey in Hommaspjallið and Hinseginspjallið that led to us talking for quite some time before eventually meeting up in person.

That led to one dinner party with him and Hafþór (his husband), then drinks with others and before you knew it, this group was formed and a first event was born.”

Gummi also has first hand experience with what it is like to come out later in life and not really know where to start with becoming a part of the community. He came out in 2017 after a 12 year relationship with a woman. He noticed that a lot of the help available for people who come out tends to be geared towards youth.

Gummi:“It would be amazing to see friendships forming at our events as it can also be challenging for people that come out for example late in life to make friends in the community. I mean since then I have definitely managed to make friends and am still in the process of it but it’s not the easiest thing to do when you first come out.

It’s kind of like on a Monday you’re in the closet and then on a Tuesday you’re out and have become a part of this community and you literally don’t know anyone apart from maybe a few faces you’ve seen on Grindr.”

Michael:“Yeah, I’d add that I did not know everyone in the group of seven extremely well, but I knew OF them. Of course, it’s Iceland so everyone knows everybody in that sense. But we didn’t know each other really well, just at a surface level.

We hope that our gatherings can break apart some of the walls we have even within our community and that people will approach someone new. Psychologists have said that the pandemic has given us all a “fear of the stranger” and we just need to break past that fear to strike up a conversation again.”

So what is your first event going to be?
“So, this first event is our kind of little kick-off and we do hope to see the community turn up for it. We are planning for a flaming gay pub quiz hosted by legendary icon and Eurovision expert Felix Bergsson and radio talk show host and DJ Siggi Gunnars. We plan to have some prizes for the top 3 teams of course which will mainly be provided by queer-owned or at least very queer-friendly businesses.”

What other plans do you have for the future?
“We definitely have plans to keep the momentum going and to provide the community with a steady stream of events in the coming months. It will also depend a lot on the community here, we will need people to show up and turn out for us and in return, we will do our best to keep things interesting and entertaining.”

Michael:“Yeah, we can’t get a good deal on a dance floor if we don’t have enough people on that dance floor twerking, so get out those dancing shoes and polish ‘em up!”

Unnsteinn:“We hope we can learn from Vera. They have done such an amazing job even throughout the last two years (of the pandemic). We are hoping this will be some kind of a community that has been lacking for the last decades or so. Hopefully we can also work with Vera and maybe sooner than later combine forces and host a gathering together. But I am no Sigga Kling (famous fortune teller in Iceland) so I can’t really tell you.”

“We are planning for a flaming gay pub quiz hosted by legendary icon and Eurovision expert Felix Bergsson and radio talk show host and DJ Siggi Gunnars.”

How do people get involved? Where can they find out more?
“The best way to find us is our Facebook page which will be our main source of information for future events. We’re also open to ideas for new gatherings so we encourage anyone that has any ideas for interesting concepts to message us there.”

Michael:“And then, yeah, mark your calendars for the 10th of March, our pub quiz, and see you there!”

Is there anything else you would like to add?
“As we have said we are mostly seven cis white gay men (all similary aged) so we don’t really reflect the entire audience we would like to see at the events. One might say we are kind of the same stereo type of an almost middle aged gay man. We do hope that there might be some people out there that would like to help us and guide us on how to be as inclusive as possible. This is only the beginning. Hopefully, I am a positive person and I am sure that actually this is the beginning of something big and something amazing. Let´s make the gay community great again!” (He laughs, obviously at the prospect of using a Trump quote in the context of a marginalised group.)

Gummi:“Just that we hope that people have fun with this and enjoy coming out and meeting different members of the queer community. There are so many people being added to it every year who will hopefully also come out and mingle with us.”

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

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