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Iceland Mag

Culture

A pink Viking longboat to sail in this year’s Gay Pride Parade

By Staff

  • Reykjavík Gay Pride Parade This year the main float will be a pink full-sized Viking longboat with a rainbow flag to celebrate and honour the "Settlement Queens" of Iceland. Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson.

A real-sized, twelve meter (72 feet) long, Viking longboat will sail in this year’s Gay Parade. Páll Óskar Hjálmtýsson, who entered the Eurovision song contest on behalf of Iceland in 1997, will sail on the longboat float, tells gayiceland.is that the ship will be a sight to behold:

“Most Viking ships were in the shape of a dragon, with a dragon’s head in the front, at the stem and its tail in the stern. Coincidentally the sails on the Viking ships were six stripes fastened together and so is the gay-pride flag. So the ship’s sail will be our flag. But otherwise you’ll have to wait until Saturday August 8th to see the final outcome,”

Of course there were gay Vikings, even if they have disappeared from history
According to gayiceland.is the idea for the Viking long-ship grew out of Páll’s interest in uncovering and sparking a debate on the LGBT history of settlement age Iceland. A year ago Páll Óskar attended a lecture by ethnologist and historian Særún Lísa Birgisdóttir who had spent years going through manuscripts looking for any mention of or anything relating to gay people:

“What struck me in Særún’s research was the almost total silence surrounding the history of gay people in Iceland, their lives and feelings. She could barely find anything on the matter until around the Second World War. It is as Icelandic gay men suddenly woke up in WWII and realized they had these emotions, these feelings, that they could have sex, fall in love with other men and be loved back.”

Settlement-Queens on a pink longship
Common sense, of course tells us that there were gay Vikings at the time of settlement, just as there are gays are found in every social group, every society and every occupation today. Páll hopes the pink longboat will help end the silence on the lives and contribution of these men and women:

“Well, the queens have been here the whole time and I want to build this ship for them, for those who were silenced to death. And that’s why I’m calling the act: The Settlement-Queens... There is a Queen of the mountains who is a symbol for Iceland, a Queen of the flag, a Brunhilde, an Irish slave queen and then there will be the most queen-like Vikings you will ever see. Those queens are all mad about being silenced for all these years.”

The Reykjavík Gay Pride takes place on August 4-9, the parade takes place on Saturday August 8, at 2 pm.

The full program of Gay Pride can be found here.

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