Queer Issues Expressed in Icelandic Language

Highlights of this post:

að koma út úr skápnum – to come out of the closet. Translated literally into Icelandic.



hinsegin – etymology unknown – queer

hán – The currently most common gender-neutral pronoun in Icelandic.

kyn – related to English “kin”, “kind” – sex; breed; gender
kynhneigð – kyn + hneigja (to bend, bow towards) – gender/sexual orientation, literally “the gender/sex to which you are bent towards”.
kynferði – kyn + ferði – gender identity, gender roles, not biological sex.
kynvitund – kyn + vitund (awareness, consciousness) – gender identity
kynfæri – kyn + færi (opportunity, means) – genitals

gagnkynhneigt – useful-oriented, heterosexual
tvíkynhneigt – two-oriented, bisexual
samkynhneigt – same-oriented, homosexual
pankynhneigð – pan-oriented, pansexual

sís-kynjun – cis-gender
trans kona/karl – trans woman/man

lesbía – lesbian
hommi – gay.
hommar og lesbíur – gays and lesbians
“Although the word hommi can be used maliciously, it is the word mainly used when referring to homosexuals, and is itself used a lot by homosexuals.” — Wikionary

óháð kynferði – regardless of gender (usually in description of pansexual orientation)

orðið skotið í – have a crush on, literally “be shot [by the arrow of love?] at”
ástfangið af – be in love with
laðast að – be attracted to
Er þetta stelpa eða strákur? – is it a girl or a boy?


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Janúar 1 – Going to the Zoo!

Spoiler: I got lost and didn’t actually end up in the zoo, but at least I got hailed on for the first time in my life, then proceeded to get hailed on for the second, third, fourth, and fifth times in my life.

Today I went out at 8 o’clock while it was still dark, intent on reaching the Reykjavík petting zoo and pet some cute animals. I brought along my Artline plushie in my backpack.

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Desember 29, 30, 31 – Gleiðilegt Nýár

I have not been feeling great after the Christmas, and the impending New Year simply made the feeling worse. There’s little to do and the shops are closed one by one like stars in a dying galaxy due to the coming New Year.

On Desember 29 and 30, I studied mathematics excessively, knot theory, to be precise. This reminds me of a joke: Two mathematicians are sitting together at a lecture. One asks, “What do you do?” The other answers, “Knot theory.” The first replies, “Me neither!”

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Desember 28 – Half-way Point

I’ve been in Iceland for 20 days… and only 14 more days before I’ll go back home. I feel ambivalent. I usually write my journal entries on what I see and feel about them, but this time I can write more freely.

I came here to experience what living in Reykjavík in winter is like, and get better at Icelandic. I have accomplished the first goal commendably, but not the second goal. I can walk all the way to Seltjarnarnes (the town on on the west of Reykjavík) and back, in a snowing night, but I haven’t spoken a single Icelandic sentence with anyone. I can scan the Icelandic labels on supermarket foods and know instantly whether it is healthy, vegetarian, vegan, has what allergens (hint: they are written in CAPITAL LETTERS), etc, but I get nervous even facing the cashier.

I have a feeling that this social anxiety will be with me forever. It’s alright if I can work alone.

Goals for the rest of my days here: Take a few photos of “ponies in Iceland”, go on an aurora tour, not feel miserable too much.


Desember 25 – Jól


This is me, except I didn’t get a letter from Santa. And I really want to be a pony. Did I mention I really want to be a pony?

Anyway, today I didn’t go out. There would be little point in doing so anyway, considering that almost everything is closed today, except 10-11, which is a 24/7 convenience shop in Iceland, like 7/11. I wonder if they also have discounts on October 11th? Or should it be on November 10th? But 10-11 is expensive — about 2.5 times as expensive as Bónus supermarket, so I wouldn’t go to 10-11 anyway.

I spent the day on the Internet and studying mathematics. I should definitely get to translating that LGBT info sheet I got from Háskóli Íslands soon.

At about 6 pm, music starts to come in from the outside. I was mildly amused that I recognized some of them as American music.