“I think I’ve cried every time,” says Eva María Þórarinsdóttir Lange, the six-time president of the Reykjavík Pride management team, about the final day of the festival. After a year of unpaid work and preparation, “Seeing a grandmother waving a rainbow flag with her grandchildren is just an indescribable feeling.”
We expect a whole lot of colourful grandmas to be out this year, because judging by the buzzing program, the 19th celebration of Reykjavík Pride is going to be stellar. The festival is a six day celebration full of thought-provoking educational events and large-scale parties. This year’s festival theme celebrates the boldness and creativity of Icelandic “LGBTQI* art and artists,” and it has been crucial in bringing positive changes and evolving attitudes to the gay and queer communities of Iceland.
“Pride is something my heart beats for,” says Eva María—and Iceland seems to agree with her. Icelanders understand that if you like fun, and if you like love, then Reykjavík Pride is absolutely the place to be. In recent years, nearly a third of population has attended the parade, and the popularity and brilliance of Reykjavík Pride has not gone unnoticed internationally—it has proudly earned the nickname “the biggest small Pride in the world.”
But glitter aside, the fight for LGBTQI* rights is far from over. Eva María emphasises that Reykjavík Pride is a chance to open the public’s eyes toward the discrimination that the LGBTQI* community continues to face in Iceland. “If we can help one person come out of the closet, or reduce the prejudice in one person’s mind… if we can help one person live their life more freely—then I am happy,” she says. “Reykjavík Pride is about more than us,” she finishes. “It’s a message of human rights, diversity and freedom to the entire world.”