Iceland’s first openly gay deacon has been ordained, and will serve at a church already well known for defending LGBTQIA rights.
RÚV reports that Hrafnhildur Eyþórsdóttir has been ordained, and will serve as a deacon at Laugarneskirkja church. Hrafnhildur bears the distinction of being the first openly gay clergyperson in Iceland.
She emphasised for reporters that the “openly” qualification is important.
“As I understand it, there hasn’t been anyone ordained who was ‘openly’ known to be partners and cohabitating with someone of the same sex,” she said. “But I think I’m not the first minister who is gay, but I am maybe the first one open about it.”
If the name of the church sounds familiar, it should. Laugarneskirkja was the scene of a recent rally encouraging the government to let an Albanian family gain asylum in Iceland.
More pertinently, the church has also openly defended LGBTQIA rights, sometimes in defiance of the national church as a whole. In 2013, the church flew the rainbow flag, both to welcome LGBTQIA people to attend service, and also in protest of homophobic preacher Frank Graham coming to Iceland, at the behest of the national church, to take part in the “Festival of Hope”.