Iceland was much more homophobic in 1978, when the country's first gay organization was founded in Reykjavík. The small population and close-knit family networks made it difficult for gays and lesbians to escape the disapproval of older generations. Today, same-sex marriages are legal, several prominent cultural figures are openly gay, and the former Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir made history in June 2010 by becoming the first head of state to marry her same-sex partner legally. Outside Reykjavík there isn’t any gay scene to speak of, but the worst any gay couple is likely to encounter is a frown.

The main gay and lesbian group in Iceland is Samtökin ’78, Laugavegur 3, 4th floor, Reykjavík (tel. 552-7878), open Monday to Friday 1 to 5pm. The group holds open-house social gatherings at the Rainbow Cafe Mondays and Thursdays 8 to 11:30pm and Saturdays 9pm to 1am. Q-Félag Stúdenta, in the same office (tel. 848-5271), is the gay and lesbian student group at the University of Iceland. It welcomes e-mails from young visitors.

The best online schedule of gay events is found at The Reykjavík Gay Pride Festival usually takes place the first week of August. 

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