Iceland: Reykjavik Pride, Close-knit community key

Iceland’s national assembly, the Althingi, was the first parliamentary democracy in the world, founded in 930 by Vikings interested in distributing resources, making laws and dispensing justice. Democracy and progressive social justice values continue to thrive here: homosexuality was decriminalized in 1940, Iceland was the first nation to democratically elect a female president, and in 2009 Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir became prime minister — the world’s first elected, openly lesbian head of government.

I’ve arrived here for Pride. It’s the last stop on a 2015 tour of my 2009 documentary Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride that the Canadian embassies in Helsinki, Stockholm and Reykjavik have organized cooperatively. The screening in Reykjavik draws a full house, the biggest audience of the tour.

“I think that we gained a lot by being such a small country because it’s easier to raise awareness when it’s a small group,” says Ugla Stefanía Jónsdóttir, a trans activist who sits on the panel following the film’s presentation.

“It’s usually that everybody knows someone that belongs to any of these groups,” Jónsdóttir says. “So it’s more difficult to be the asshole who is against someone because you will know someone eventually.” Read more via Daily Xtra