BDSM In Iceland Joins Up With National Queer Organisation - The Reykjavik Grapevine

BDSM In Iceland Joins Up With National Queer Organisation

Published March 8, 2016

Photos by
Art Bicnick

While the move was not without controversy, it has proven to be working more positively than negatively for both groups.

In a statement from the National Queer Organisation, the group announces that BDSM in Iceland has now become one of many other groups under the umbrella of the organisation. This decision was made not from management, but by a democratic vote conducted by members of the organisation itself.

While the majority voted in favour, not everyone was entirely on board. Voices of criticism have arisen in the Icelandic media, with one of the main arguments being that BDSM is a lifestyle choice; not a sexual orientation.

However, Magnús Hákonarson, the chairperson of BDSM in Iceland, told Vísir that this argument is not only incorrect, but that people in the BDSM community experience a lot of the same struggles that the rest of the queer community does.

“Research shows that there are people who experience BDSM as an orientation, and/or a part of their sexual identity,” he said. “BDSM is, for them, an inborn characteristic, just like other orientations. There are also people who do not at all experience BDSM as an orientation, but only as a sexual fantasy. Whether a person experiences BDSM as an orientation, fantasy, lifestyle, or something else doesn’t matter – prejudice is still pervasive.”

Auður Magndís Auðardóttir, executive director of the National Queer Organisation, told Grapevine that on the vote for admittance, 47 voted in favour and 40 voted against. However, only 26 of those against admittance resigned from the organisation, which claims about 1,100 members. Meanwhile 17 people have registered in the National Queer Organisation since last Saturday evening alone, which Auður says in “an unusually high” number of new registrations.

In fact, BDSM in Iceland joining up with the organisation has statistically proven beneficial for both parties.

“Most of those who had objections were expressing reservations or concerns with the decision, but intend to stay in the organisation,” she told us. “We’ve received a lot of communication from people who’ve said that while they might not agree with the decision, they respect the democratic process and just want to continue advocating for human rights.”


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