Transgender woman makes history by becoming first to represent Iceland
For the first time, a trans woman has taken on the most prestigious role in Iceland’s national day celebrations.
Eva Ágústa Aradóttir, an LGBT activist and photographer, was asked to be the Lady of the Mountain, a personification of the country who represents all its best qualities.
During Saturday’s national holiday, she stood on a stage in the middle of the celebrations and read a poem – a tradition established in 1944, when Iceland became a republic.
She also wore the Skautbúningur, the most honourable type of women’s Icelandic costumes.
Aradóttir said the role was “a huge honour,” GayIceland has reported.
It was even more significant because the part she played is supposed to symbolise everything good about the country.
“Especially since the Lady of the Mountain is a female incarnation of Iceland, this is a huge honour for me and a validation of my being a woman,” she said.
Aradóttir added that her acceptance of the role was also validation for women who are differently abled or part of ethnic minorities.
She had been accepted as “just as much a woman as all the others who are women in spite of what they look like, the colour of their skin, whether they have a disability or any other variation from the stereotype of a woman.
“Hopefully, the stereotype is fading in the sense that all kinds of women will be accepted, because we are of all kinds.”
When she was asked to be Lady of the Mountain, she recalled thinking “it would be thrilling, but (I) was hesitant at the same time.
“But when they contacted me a few days later I thought it was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse – a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be the Lady of the Mountain.”
Speaking before she read out the poem by a fellow local woman, Bryndís Björgvinsdóttir, she said she had “never done anything like this”.
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She had “never participated formally in the festivities and of course never been a Lady of the Mountain anywhere,” she said.
“I’m not used to being in the public eye, but I do have some experience of public speaking so that’s not entirely new to me.
“But this will certainly be exciting.”
Icelandair’s brand manager explained that the company thought it was “only natural” to include a diverse set of people in its adverts, considering that was representative of its customers.