Jürgen and I have been to our share of pride parades around the world: Boston, Berlin, NYC, Spain. But we’ve never seen a Gay Pride quite like Reykjavík’s, held annually in August. Led by its mayor, the entire city paints itself in rainbow colors and puts on an astonishing celebration of gayness.
As we walked down to the parade route, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Reykjavík had truly gone all out! Rainbow-colored crosswalks, rainbow flags in every store and flying high above city hall. Girls passing out merchandise and guys wearing shirts which identified them as “Gay for a Day”. Families with small children dressed up in rainbow-colored gear.
We could hardly get to the parade route through all the baby strollers. It was a far cry from the raunchy, sexually-explicit parades of Berlin. The guy standing in front of me wasn’t a leather-thonged bear daddy, but a ten-year-old kid with buckteeth, who had made a bracelet out of some rainbow-colored ribbon and was clapping excitedly for the “Dykes on Bikes” roaring past on their hogs. There was even an appearance by Reykjavík’s flamboyant mayor, Jón Gnarr, dressed in Iceland’s traditional women’s costume and tossing out roses to the crowd.
After the last float had passed, we followed the crowd to Arnarhóll park, sat on the grass and listened to a concert. Again, completely different from the wild, drunken block parties that would ensue after Boston’s pride, but just as wonderful.
It was an incredible feeling to be in a place like Reykjavík, where homosexuality is so completely accepted that it’s almost become blasé. We felt the support of the entire city, from its mayor to its institutions, business and people. It’s the kind of unconditional acceptance which I had never experienced before. And it means a lot. So thanks, Reykjavík… we love you, too!