Reykjavík Pride‘s signature event—the gleðiganga, or Pride Parade, took place this afternoon (a most perfect sunny day, as you can see). This was our first time in the city for Pride, which is actually a six day event called “Hinsegin Dagar,” or Queer Days (“hinsegin” actually just means “different,” but is the general word used to refer to queer people), and after a little “Diving and Divas” (a concert/diving exhibition at the indoor swimming pool downtown) earlier in the week, I was really looking forward to the parade. (Fun Fact: the Pride Parade is, I’m told, the only parade on the city’s calendar.)
By parade standards, Reykjavík Pride is, admittedly, pretty small. But you wouldn’t know it from the size of the crowds that gather. I’m told that somewhere around 120,000 people came out to see the parade and the following concert this afternoon. Just think about that: 120,000 people. That is just short of the city’s total population which is, at last estimate, 121,230. And that is amazing.
It took us awhile to find a spot along the parade route where we could see well (there were tons of people, after all) but some of the highlights include Iceland’s scout troupe, the new mayor (not in drag like our former mayor, to many’s disappointment, but quite nicely turned out) and municipal workers, the US embassy (lots of familiar faces marching there—whoo hoo!), and a float of hip hop lovers hoisting signs that said things like “Gay people like hip hop, too!” and “lesbians who listen to Detroit techno.”
The parade culminated with a giant swan float (Mark dubbed it the Partý Swan, I think appropriately), presided over by the inimitable Páll Óskar (that’s a great interview, you should read it) who sang his song “Gordjöss” (‘Gorgeous’) dressed in a full white feathered bodysuit and flanked by two human disco balls with glitter cannons.
[Here’s a great live performance of “Gordjöss” – and here’s a version that just has the Icelandic lyrics for those of you who are interested. It’s a pretty tounge-and-cheek song for pride; the chorus line is “Það geta ekki allir verið gordjöss / það geta ekki allir verið töff / Það geta ekki allir orðið fabílos / eins og ég…” or, roughly: Not everyone can be gorgeous / not everyone can be cool /not everyone can become fabulous / just like me.”]
Today, I am proud to be living in a city where families bring their kids to deck out in rainbows and cheer on their LGBTQQIA (yes, the acronym has gotten longer) neighbors, friends, and family members. I am proud to be in a place where people are free to love who they want, be their best, most authentic selves, and have the vocal and enthusiastic support of—literally—the whole city.