Just as I sat down to watch the Friday evening news last week, I received a distress call. On the phone was a man I had never met. He was desperately searching for a venue for a lesbian, gay and bisexual organisation wishing to hold a one-day seminar taking place the next day.
This was at the height of Iceland´s annual pride week and the organisation had arranged to hold their conference at an auditorium rented out by the National Museum of Iceland. A few days earlier the museum had suddenly cancelled the event following complaints by activists, who objected to their views on trans rights.
A frantic search for a new venue yielded results and shortly before the distress signal was sent out the organisation’s volunteers had been busy setting up at an equestrian centre on the outskirts of Reykjavik. Just as everything was falling into place, they received word that they would need to evacuate the premises and could not hold their conference there either.
Foreign lecturers had arrived (including a professor of human rights law at King’s College London) the second location had been advertised, catering arranged. Now the organisation was desperately searching for a place to meet the following morning.
My political party, the Centre party, has a hall which it sometimes hires out and although I usually don’t handle such things I told the beleaguered man on the phone that the hall was certainly available if arrangements could be made on such short notice.
I later found out that as soon as our venue had been listed, our political party and many of our members had been bombarded with calls from activists telling us to cancel the event (often with colourful language).