Frequently asked questions
Can gay people get married and adopt children?
Since 2006 same sex couples have all the same rights as heterosexual couples without any limitations. This includes full adoption rights, making insemination clinics available to lesbian couples and ensures maternity/paternity leave for gay and lesbian couples.
Where can i meet gay Icelanders online?
Many Icelanders meet online through a local website Einkamal.is, and of course at the bars during weekends. If you log on to the Icelandic websites look for 'samkynhneigður' which means 'gay/lesbian' or 'tvíkynhneigður' which means bisexual.
More and more locals use the international gay websites such as www.gaydar.co.uk, www.gayromeo.com, www.gay.com, www.bearwww.com, www.eurowoof.com to name a few. Mobile apps such as Scruff, Grindr and Growlr are becoming more and more popular and a great way to connect with other gays in the area or around the world.
Is the society open towards gay people?
Iceland is considered very open and friendly towards gay people. Tolerance towards gay people is good and gay bashing is seldom heard of. In the past 30 years much has been achieved in making gay men and lesbians visible in Iceland and that has worked a lot against prejudices. Gay couples have no problem walking hand in hand in public. The fact that Reykjavik Gay Pride is probably Iceland´s second biggest outdoor event in Iceland says a lot about the situation!
What are the legal rights of gay people?
In Iceland, the rights of the individual are protected in the country’s constitution. Discrimination is prohibited by Article 65 of the Constitution, which stipulates clearly that everyone is to be equal before the law and enjoy their human rights regardless of “sex, religion, opinion, national origin, race, colour, property, birth or other status”.
Are there places to cruise?
Cruising is to be found in Reykjavik as in every major city around the world. There is little outdoor cruising in Reykjavík, except in Öskjuhlíð, a wooden area between the airport and restaurant Perlan. Swimming is very a popular in Iceland and some of them are frequented by gay Icelanders. Spartacus mentions the sauna in the Vesturbaejarlaug as a cruising area but it´s important to note that these are public facilities so please be very discreet.
What is the age of consent?
Everybody, gay and straight, can start having sex at 15. It's important to realize that age differences do matter and sexual relationship is considered inappropriate between an adult and a teenager younger than 16 years old.
What is the legal status of cohabitation?
Since June 2010 same-sex marriage was legalised in Iceland replacing older legislation of confirmed cohabitation which was in place since 1996. This means the wording of marriage legislation includes matrimony between "man and man, woman and woman" and upgrades same sex marriege to be fully equal with marriage. Since 2008 same sex couples could register their partnership in church or any other religious congregation as well as with a civil registrar.
What is the gay scene like and what to expect?
As Iceland is a very small country with population around 320.000 people the gay scene is relatively small and mostly limited to Reykjavik. There are usually one or two gay bars/cafes and one or two clubs to go to. The gay scene is open and friendly and attitudes towards gays and lesbians in Iceland is very positive. Read Gayice.is gay guide for list of places to goto.
Do Icelanders speak English?
Most Icelanders speak fluent English. In fact, they welcome the opportunity, so never be shy approaching an Icelander.
Are there any sub-communities such as bears?
As the gay community/scene is very small, active sub-communities such as bear groups are hardly to be found. What you will find though is a annual bear event called BEARS ON ICE where local and visiting bears, chasers and friends take over the local gay scene, usually the second weekend in September (check out www.bearsonice.org for more information).
There are a few social groups, some are very active (Styrmir, KMK, BEARS ON ICE, Queer Choir, Q-Students) and other not so much (MSC). Best way to find out is to contact them directly by e-mail. Browse through the Gay Guide in top menu for list of Organisations, Social groups and annual events.
Can i be open about my sexual orientation?
Being open about your sexual orientation (in school or workplace, for example) is not usually a problem for anyone in Iceland. If you run into difficulties or encounter hostility because of your sexual orientation, it’s important that you exercise your rights and seek assistance immediately. Discrimination, violence or bashing of any kind should never be tolerated or ignored. Contact Samtökin ‘78 (tel. 552-7878) if you need help or advice or just someone to talk to.
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