Photo / Courtesy of Vera

Vera is back – in time for summer!

GayIceland chats with queer women and non-binary people group Vera about about safe spaces and upcoming events.

Queer people often face unique challenges when it comes to finding a sense of belonging. This is especially true in environments where they may not feel accepted or supported, such as schools and workplaces. A sense of belonging is incredibly important for LGBTQ+ people, as it can help them to feel more secure and confident in their identity, while also providing them with a support system of like-minded individuals. Research has shown that having a sense of belonging can lead to increased self-esteem, improved mental health, and even better academic and job performance and these stats are particularly notable for those in the rainbow community. It is therefore essential that we create safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ people to foster this sense of belonging.

A few years ago some Iceland locals (Ingibjörg Ruth Gulin and Ástrós Erla) decided that it was very important to foster and develop events geared at queer women and non-binary people. The group, called ‘Vera’ plans and hosts events around the city of Reykjavík to help create spaces for queer women and non-binary people to connect, have fun and most importantly feel like they belong.

Vera took a little break in the past few months but they’re back and ready to get some events happening, and with the long days of Icelandic summer approaching, it couldn’t be at a better time. GayIceland recently had a chat with some of the current members of Vera’s organisational committee; Casey Dokoupil, Ástrós Erla and Madeleine Boucher to find out what’s been happening, what changes they’ve been making and, most importantly, what Vera fans and future fans can look forward to.

GayIceland: “It’s great to see Vera again! Have there been any changes since the last event?”

Ástrós: “Since our first event in 2019, we have really evolved as an organisation! In the past, we have gone by Queer Ladies’ Night, but as we expand to include more branches of the queer family, we are now using the name Vera. This word, as a noun, means “a being”, something we can all identify with.

As we start up again post-COVID, we’re being intentional about inclusion and representation. The board is a diverse body of people from different nations, backgrounds, and identities, and we are aiming to reflect that philosophy through the conscious celebration of queer women and non-binary people in our events; especially parts of the community that haven’t always experienced a feeling of being explicitly welcomed.”

Ástrós Erla, pictured, founded Vera with Ingibjörg Ruth Gulin a few years ago.

GayIceland: “What’s coming up in the future for Vera? What events should people look out for?”

Casey: “We’re so glad you asked! Our next event is coming up on May 29. We’re hosting a casual walk and picnic at Öskjuhlíð for queer women and non-binary people as a way for us to introduce ourselves in a cosy setting and get to know each other.

Keep an eye out for lots of other events we’re excited to announce soon!”

“Since our first event in 2019, we have really evolved as an organisation! In the past, we have gone by Queer Ladies’ Night, but as we expand to include more branches of the queer family, we are now using the name Vera.”

GayIceland: “Are there any special events you can hint at in the future?”

Madeleine: “Well, we can give you a bit of a sneak peek. Vera is turning 4 this year, and we’re having a birthday celebration in June! August is Pride season in Reykjavik, and we will of course be celebrating with a pride walk among our peers and community. And so much more is to come; art, active events from yoga to sport, discussion groups, movie nights, parties… and lots more.”

Casey Dokoupil.

GayIceland: “Tell us a bit about why groups like this are so important?”

Ástrós: “All people deserve validation, safety, and belonging, but those experiences are not always built into the lived realities of minority people. Groups like Vera not only make them more available, they expand them into chosen families made up of people with shared experiences.

In these spaces we are uniquely able to see and hear each other, raising a louder voice together than we could ever accomplish alone. We can affirm ourselves, and assert our value to the greater community, which benefits from our presence, perspective, and abilities.”

GayIceland: “For those who haven’t ever been to a Vera event, what can they expect?”

Casey: “They can expect to be warmly welcomed, of course! At a Vera event, folks can expect to feel that they belong – because they do! Our goal is to centre queer female and non-binary voices through a wide range of fun events to suit all kinds of interests, always focusing on meeting new friends, networking, and influencing our community with joy.”

GayIceland: “These events sound like fun but If someone is thinking of coming to a Vera event and is a bit nervous, what would you tell them?”

“At a Vera event, folks can expect to feel that they belong – because they do! Our goal is to centre queer female and non-binary voices through a wide range of fun events to suit all kinds of interests.”

Madeleine: “Feeling nervous when trying something new is totally normal! Each of us had a first time, too, and felt the same nerves anyone else might.

Even before you walk in the door, you have something in common with everyone else. You’ll find that a variety of languages are spoken within the Vera space, too, which can help people to feel more comfortable no matter where they come from.

Adults of all ages are welcome, and some of our events are great for youth or people with kids or pets in tow, as well. If you’re nervous, we get it. But remember – you belong here. If people are feeling really nervous they can definitely reach out to the Vera team via Facebook or Instagram and we can show them a bit of extra support and be there for them during their first event.”

Madeleine Boucher.

GayIceland: “Is there anything else you would like people to know about Vera like how can they stay up to date with all the events in the future?”

Ástrós: “The best way to stay in the loop is to follow us on Instagram (@hinseginvera), but you can also find us on facebook. We’ll be sure to keep you up to date on the latest events, issues, and conversations.

Speaking of, we are on the hunt for a new logo! If you’re an artist, graphic designer, or other creative interested in collaborating with us in designing a logo, we want to hear from you! We honour art and artists, of course, and are looking to compensate a logo partner. Message us on Insta if that might be you!”

Vera’s next event is a walk and picnic to kick off their first event of the year. The walk will be through the Öskjuhlíð forest near Perlan, followed by a picnic at Nauthólsvík. Dogs on a leash are welcome!
Date: Monday May 29th
Time: The walk will begin at 14:00. If you would like to come to the picnic and skip the walk, it should begin at Nauthólsvík around 15:00.
Location: The Perlan Parking lot is the meeting point for the walk and Nauthólsvík beach is the meeting point for the picnic.

The Vera team is made up of: Ástrós Erla, Ingibjörg Ruth Gulin, Madeleine Boucher, Casey Dokoupil, Hrönn Svansdóttir, Erin Lawyer, Magda Doborzynska, Auðbjörg Helga, Sjöfn Asare and Alice Vaza.

Vera took a little break in the past few months but they’re back and ready to get some events happening, and with the long days of Icelandic summer approaching, it couldn’t be at a better time. Photo / Courtesy of Vera

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.



    Blush was founded in 2011 when it started selling high quality sex products. The goal from the beginning was to change the market and take the discussion about sex products to a higher level. Today Blush provides professional services in a pleasant environment that fulfills different needs, both for individuals and couples. Blush respects diversity and wants to set a good example in all of its messaging to target audiences. Sexual health and equality in sex is important and Blush wants to focus on those issues through education and open discussion. Blush works in a socially responsible manner for society, their customers and the environment.

    Check out Blush’s website:

    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.




        Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) is a global technology company serving the capital markets and other industries. Our diverse offering of data, analytics, software and services enables clients to optimize and execute their business vision with confidence.

        With over 4,300 employees in 39 offices around the world, at Nasdaq we all contribute to the success of the company and its culture, and each one of us has the ability to make a difference. When it comes to our core mission and values, we embrace the role of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) as a fundamental driver of our corporate growth, workplace culture and market development. We strive to create a culture that embraces the power of different perspectives—a culture where people’s unique backgrounds and different experiences helps us fuel innovation and support our clients around the world.

        Our unique position at the center of the capital markets allows us to see firsthand how these values have redefined corporate culture and success, deepening and accelerating our own commitment to champion inclusive growth and prosperity, as we strive to create more equitable opportunities to help people of all backgrounds reach their full potential. Most notably, we published our diversity statistics for the first time in 2020. These metrics serve as a quantitative assessment of where we are today and help determine what strategies we need to adopt to enhance diversity in the workplace. We recognize that we have much work to do, but we are steadfast in our commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive culture—one that reflects the communities in which we live, allows all employees to be their true, authentic selves and fosters individual growth and achievement.

        As we move forward together, we will continue advancing diverse ideas and perspectives that help fulfill the promise of a more inclusive and prosperous world. We aim to set the pace for rethinking capital markets and economies anywhere and everywhere. To learn more about the company, technology solutions and career opportunities, visit us on LinkedIn, on Twitter @Nasdaq, or at

        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
        comes from 2.000 meters within the earth where seawater and freshwater converge in a tectonic realm 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 two hotels, three restaurants, three
        geothermal lagoons, a subterranean spa, a renowned line of skin care, a thriving research center, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

        Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

        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%.

        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.

        - 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. “

        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.

          - 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.

          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

          Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.