See their homepage for more details. Fridays are usually designated for the Revolta youth group www. Most popular with the and-up year-old crowd and an occasional stray sailor. Online you can go to www. You can also chat with icelanders on the Ircnet channel gay. To chat on Irc you must have Mirc chat software, available free on www.
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You then connect to an ircnet server close to you and write: The quickest way is to go into bulletin board and put in an ad. You can also e-mail to us on office samtokin Gay men meet on gay. On top of that we plan to have a chat-line here on our homepage. On 27 June, Gay Pride Day, Icelandic lesbians and gays gain the right to enter into marriage before the law. The minister of justice introduced the bill in parliament and while the new law is similar to those passed in Norway, Denmark and Sweden, it also gives gay couples joint custody of the children of either partner.
Nowhere have gay couples had such rights up to now. Though a great victory has been won, the new law differs in some ways from the general laws on marriage. It does not permit the adoption of children by gay or lesbian couples, nor does it provide for the right to artificial insemination. A long and hard struggle preceded the present victory. Times have changed, however, and following an increasingly open debate about homosexuality and homosexuals in the Icelandic media, attitudes have become more positive and have moved in the direction of greater tolerance. A new motion was put to parliament in and unanimously passed.
A committee was set up to investigate the position of lesbians and gays in Iceland and to return an opinion that would become the basis for new legislation.
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As the Icelandair thunders into the night sky that Friday, I have no second thoughts. It will be an adventure. Iceland, an island nation roughly the size of Kentucky, sits at the top of the North Atlantic, its north coast brushing against the Arctic Circle.
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Because of frequent volcanic activity, and the fact that there are two glaciers covering much of the interior land, only about 21 percent of the island is considered habitable, almost all of it near the coast. The climate, however, is surprisingly moderate, because the gulf stream passes close to the southern shore. Winters in south Iceland can be milder than those in New York. The plane flies northward through the night. Outside my window the Northern Lights constantly flare, shifting form and color.
I land at Keflavik International airport just after 6 on Saturday morning. The sky is as dark as midnight. I am in search of information, but I quickly discover that in the course of everyday life, this is the place to meet people and socialize as well. It is, in fact, the center of gay life as well as the official voice of the gay and Lesbian community in Iceland. Financial support comes primarily from the national and city governments.
He seems happy to drop his tools and talk with me. We sit in the library, a bright, cheerful room that contains over 2, books and videos relating to gay and lesbian life. At 34, he is old enough to remember the darker days of oppression in Iceland. For the past 12 years Iceland has had a growing reputation for tolerance and inclusion of Lesbians and gay men, but that has not come without a struggle. Since , there has been remarkable change. He came out at the age of 16, and promptly moved from the nearby town of Selfoss to Reykjavik.
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All sex subjects were discussed in its pages, including homosexual sex. By the time I came out in , Iceland had revolutionized. And so it appears, although the shaping of gay life in Iceland has been markedly different from that which has happened in the large cities of Europe and the U. Gays here are very socially integrated. There are no gay baths. Within a week everyone would know my penis size, how good I am in bed, and what my kinks are.
There are two dance bars that gays frequent in Iceland. Neither is percent gay. Samtokin estimates the lesbian and gay population at the usual 10 percent, or 28, The gay community, has by necessity a more intimate feeling. It is, in fact, a reflection of the national ethos as well.
Foreign visitors, in fact are in high demand. They bring variety, different points of view, different styles to the party. Siggi is currently in a long-term relationship. He and his lover Matthew a linguistics lecturer from the United Kingdom plan to marry when Matt returns from a sabbatical in California.
Matthew would like to be married in a church. But Siggi is not so sure. Regardless of where the ceremony takes place, family, friends, neighbors and the civil authorities will regard it as a legal marriage, extending to the couple all the legal rights except adoption , expectations, and support accorded heterosexual couples. Outside, it is mid afternoon, Just across the harbor, the sun shines on mountains.
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But over the city a snow squall is underway. Its like that in Iceland. The weather can change within minutes. I begin to explore the city. It is small enough to get around on foot. Designed in , the church, with its modern lines and towering steeple, remains a controversial site. Arguments aside, it affords one of the best views of the city. An elevator whisks the visitor to the top where the bright colored roofs of Reykjavik lie below, huddled on the harbor peninsula.
From this vantage point, the city looks more like an overgrown fishing village than a national capital.
In fact, that is often my impression on the ground as well. Small two and three-story homes line the narrow streets of downtown. Sheathed in corrugated iron, many are painted excruciatingly bright colors. An electric blue domicile shoulders itself assertively between one of crimson red and another of Halloween orange. I turn back onto Laugavegur, the shopping street.
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There are no department stores in Reykjavik. Shopping is done in small specialty shops and boutiques. Casual clothes are sold in one shop, dress clothes in another. Icelanders are very style conscious, and the establishments on Laugavegur carry the latest of European fashion.
The street offers an eclectic mix of stores, and a thorough examination of the shops and their customers can take the better part of an afternoon. Having been forewarned about the strenuous weekend nightlife, I choose a nap over dinner before taking to the dark streets. Being a visitor, I have been excused from the dress code In fact non-leather guests are often welcomed at this, the only exclusively male space in gay Iceland. The group publishes a monthly newsletter, and sponsors regular social events and theme nights. Its members also organize an annual summer Leather Summit gathering, and invite leather clubs from throughout Europe The clubhouse is only open on Saturday nights, and closes at 1 a.
I am ready to sleep Jet lag remains, and I must be up at 8: But my protests are overruled. We head for Club Spotlight Hverfisgata , a predominantly gay and Lesbian disco. A brightly lit bar, a room with tables set up for conversation and a separate room with a dance floor define the physical space of this very pleasant club.
We sit at a table. Two men, boyfriends at least for the night , sit down next to me. The one nearest me puts one arm around his friend and they kiss passionately. At the same time, his other hand is working at the front of my pants. As Siggi says later, Icelandic men, when they are drunk, will do just about anything.
Our last stop is Club 22 Laugavegur 22 , the most popular place for gays and Lesbians to meet, to drink, and to dance. This is also a mixed venue, with straights and gays happily coexisting and mingling together. A small bar with table seating is on the ground floor. Upstairs is the more crowded disco bar. Here I meet Ingi Hauksson.