Thousands of people have travelled from all over the world to participate in Iceland’s one-of-a-kind gay pride parade. The 6-day long event began August 4th and will reach its peak tomorrow, August 8th, during the Pride Parade. But what makes the Reykjavik’s annual Gay Pride event so special?

1. Almost 30% of Iceland’s population attends

Close to 100,000 people participate in the gay pride celebration in one way or another. That’s about 80% of the total population of Reykjavik and close to 30% of the entire population. It is actually ranked as one of the top 30 LGBT events in the world. But when it comes to the number of participants as a share of the entire population, the gay pride parade in Reykjavik has no match.

Of course, a lot of the guests are foreigners and the number of locals attending is probably closer to 20% Still, that is an impressive attendance from the people of Reykjavik.



2. Iceland is one of the most socially progressive countries in the world

It seems appropriate to celebrate equal rights for people of all sexual preferences in one of the most liberal countries in the world. Iceland has consistently ranked in the top 5 on the Social Progress Index, in good company with countries such as Switzerland, Sweden, and Canada.

More importantly, Iceland is one of the most gay-friendly destinations in the world. Here are some more facts that highlight Iceland’s commitment to equality:

– Iceland was the first country in the world to have an openly gay Prime Minister
– Iceland was one of the first countries in the world to allow same-sex marriage.
– Iceland was one of the first countries in the world to recognize the right of same-sex couples to adopt, or to have children.

Rainbow flags outside City Hall

Rainbow flags outside City Hall

3. It’s family friendly

Not only is this a celebration for non-heterosexuals, but it’s also generally celebrated and supported by Icelanders. Families flock to the celebrations and it’s becoming an even more popular family event than Iceland’s independence day. Even the police and the mayor of Reykjavik will join the party.

Police joining the celebration

Police joining the celebration

4. Reykjavik’s mayor opened the festival in a dress and high heels

On second thought, this deserves its own point. What does this say about the accepting culture in Iceland?

Mayor of Reykjavik at the time, Jon Gnarr

Mayor of Reykjavik at the time, Jon Gnarr

5. It’s one of the oldest LGBT events in history

This will be the 17th Gay Pride parade in Reykjavik, making it one of the oldest LGBT events in history. The first event hosted about 1,500 people, so saying that it’s grown a lot since then is an understatement.


6. It’s supported by the government

The Gay Pride parade not only gets a lot of love from the people but also the government. The city of Reykjavik is currently supporting the organization holding the event with 5 million kr. ($ 40,000) every year. Not only is it supported with money, but the government also sponsors LGBT education in schools and the current mayor, Dagur B. Eggertsson, helped paint one of Reykjavik’s main shopping streets in rainbow colors. Finally, the rainbow flag is proudly flaunted by City Hall.

Dagur Eggertsson paints Skolavordustigur

The mayor of Reykjavik (3rd from right) paints the streets of Reykjavik with the rainbow


For more information about the event, including information about all events, click here.

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