This August, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Reykjavik Pride. Ever since the first Pride took place in 1999, the city has been brimming with colour and liveliness during this annual event. The general public participation in this festival is really what makes the Reykjavik Pride so unique – as thousands of people embrace this opportunity to show their support and solidarity to the LGBTQIA+ community by joining in the jubilation.
Reykjavik Pride has been one of the most popular city festivals in Reykjavík from the very beginning. I think it is safe to say that nowhere else in the world can we expect some one third of the population to gather in the city centre to take part in the Pride Parade – the highlight of the festivities. This reflects the powerful struggle that queer people in Iceland have pursued throughout the years. Yet, we know that the fight for equal rights is far from over and that we constantly have to be on guard to fight prejudice wherever and whenever it appears.
Ever since the City of Reykjavík established a special human rights manifesto in 2006, we have worked systematically to ensure that all individuals can flourish within our society. Still, we can never let go of the fight for equal rights, no matter how much has been achieved in recent years.
Behind every struggle there are individuals who have sacrificed their time and sometimes their lives to bring on necessary change within society. Reykjavik Pride was established by such pioneers some twenty years ago, and the event is still today, fully prepared and organized by volunteers. For that we are extremely grateful.
The unanimously decision made by the City Council earlier this year to adorn a special place in downtown Reykjavík with a permanent rainbow, is both a colourful and symbolic reminder of the fight for human rights that the LGBTQIA+ community has carried out worldwide. This year we also mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York that set in motion queer liberation movements around the globe, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Reykjavík Pride.
On behalf of the City of Reykjavík, I congratulate you for your successful queer rights campaign throughout the years. But more than anything – have fun and enjoy the spirit of Reykjavík Pride 2019!