An attendee of the National Queer Organisation of Iceland (Samtökin ’78) conference was taken to the emergency department after being assaulted in downtown Reykjavík on Tuesday evening. The police are investigating the assault as a possible hate crime but are currently without substantial leads.
Other participants notably shaken
An attendee of the National Queer Organisation of Iceland (Samtökin ’78) conference was assaulted in downtown Reykjavík on Tuesday evening and subsequently taken to the emergency department. Authorities were alerted and promptly arrived at the scene. The victim’s condition, as confirmed by the organisation on Wednesday, is stable.
A statement from the organisation noted that the incident had notably shaken those who attended the conference, which was co-hosted by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Nordic Council of Ministers, and the National Queer Organisation. The event saw the participation of over a hundred delegates from leading LGBTQ+ organisations across the Nordic nations.
The organisation also highlighted the fact that it had recently found cause to heighten security measures at conferences such as these – and had ensured the presence of security personnel throughout the conference’s proceedings.
Investigated as possible hate crime
Daníel E. Arnarsson, Executive Director of the National Queer Organisation, told RÚV on Wednesday that the victim – while leaving the conference venue located in a hotel – had visible LGBTQ+ symbols on them.
“This is a delegate of an LGBTQ+ conference, associated with an LGBTQ+ organisation, who was assaulted in the heart of Reykjavik. It is essential for the police to consider the seriousness of this incident,” Daníel stated.
The police acknowledged on Wednesday that they had initiated an investigation into the assault. While it’s still in its preliminary phase, one focal point of their inquiry is determining whether this incident can be classified as a hate crime. As of now, the authorities confirmed that they have not arrested anyone in connection to the assault and are currently without substantial leads. However, they are in the process of analysing CCTV footage from the night in question.
Milestones in LGBTQ rights
The National Queer Association of Iceland (Samtökin ’78) was founded in 1978. Over the decades, it has not only played a role in advocating for the rights and acceptance of the queer community in the country but has also worked to promote LGBTQ+ visibility, education, and support services, solidifying Iceland’s reputation as one of the most progressive countries for queer rights globally.
Iceland has undergone significant legislative changes in regard to queer rights throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, including the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1940, the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships in 1996, and the legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2010.