On 11 August, Iceland comes way, way out of the closet.
Gay Pride weekend has grown to become one of the most anticipated festivals of the year. At this Saturday’s parade, kids sporting rainbow flags and face paint will be as common as drag queens and women in plaid. Páll Óskar, Iceland’s reigning Queen, will croon to the crowd of 40,000 as they dance their way down Main Street. Once downtown, families will enjoy concerts lathered with enough sexual ambiguity to give a diehard Tory the tingles.
But it wasn’t always so. Iceland came relatively late (for a Scandinavian country) to the idea of celebrating society’s differences. In 1978, lead by a few flamboyant souls, Samtökin ’78 was formed to draw attention to gay and lesbian rights issues. Since then, they have managed to turn public opinion, gain support from the press, and rewrite the law at the governmental level. Amy Winehouse should be so lucky.
All of this effort, as most things do in Iceland, has come down to one really great party. So, load you iPod with Mika and Scissor Sisters, set your personal groomer to “peach fuzz,” and get ready for a weekend you won’t soon forget.
Photo courtesy of GayIce.is.