My speech on Gay Pride in Reykjavík 2014

My speech on Gay Pride in Reykjavík.
Saturday August 9th, 2014

The walk of joy.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step said the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu1500 years ago.

At this time of the year, 39 years ago, I started a walk, a difficult walk, as some called it, and more than half the nation kept an eye on me. I was alone when I set off and all I had to support myself with was a conviction and commitment to change unjust situation for the better. Be myself and not something that others insisted that I was. I was then and I am still gay and I am very satisfied with being so.

Most of my fellow country man stood afar, and looked at me critically and shouted to me that this and that was not allowed and would not be possible; that people did not like this and that one should accept the status quo and stop this claim for attention. And I was also told that I would go to hell for what I was doing.

But I continued to walk through the fog of resistance. Took the blows that were given to me from the darkness but I reached out immediately to those who welcomed me better, supported me and even talked to me first. Those who were not in the dark.

The goup af walkers expanded and we established an organization and the group began to matter, and went on to shout slogans about our rights and insisted that we would be listned to and we rejected the traditional social exclusion.

The goal became clearar and the group more powerful. We went on to describe our feelings and attitudes finding the right words and concepts and explain the purpose of the walk. Finally we were heard, issues discussed in details, laws and regulations changed and new policy formulated. But the walk went on and we are still on this hike.

Over the years it changed from a difficult walk of one into a protestwalk of many and then into a solidarity - struggle walk of most and in the past few years it has become a true walk of joy to the large proportion of icelanders. We are moving steadily to a combined walk all around the world. With peace, love, determination and joy we have the duty to reach out to those who need a helping hand.

To dare to take a step into the unknown, following ones own conviction and change, without any guarantee of traditional and imagined security, that is the first step towards experiencing and enjoying the diversity that life provides.

This broad consensus of the population that we are experiencing now, the peace and happiness of us all, is what matters the most. And we must always have the goal of working together in the spirit of the community we want to live in.

To maintain and develop dignity and positive thinking is a fulltime achievement in the rough seas of life. To come together once a year to do precisily that is an admirable start. Let's keep it going.

We are all so varied in nature, talents and abilities, all so queer that we simply have to stick together and work together because that´s how we get the best results.

We do not conquer, we do not lose, but take part, join in, stay together and we are concerted.

I was told at the first step of my walk, I would go to hell. Now I stand here looking  out at the group and thinking; If this is hell, it's just very good.

Congratulations people of the Gay Pride walk and everyone else. I wish you happiness and luck in the tasks that you are dealing with and that awaits you.

 

Thank you for listening.

Hörður Torfason