Hverfisbarinn, a downtown Reykjavík nightclub, has come under fire for the actions and words of one of their doormen, who told a trans woman to leave the establishment. While the club cites a “dress code” as the reason why she was asked to leave, many have cast doubt on this excuse.
The matter was first brought to light on social media, as Fréttablaðið reports. Rakel Brandt and her sister, Sæborg Ninja Guðmundsdóttir, reportedly went to the club on Saturday night to celebrate Rakel’s birthday.
At the entrance, a doorman took exception with Sæborg, who is a trans woman, claiming that she was not dressed appropriately, but that they could stay at the club until midnight. However, the doorman approached them at around 23:00 and told them they needed to leave. When Rakel asked if they were being kicked out because Sæborg is trans, the doorman reportedly replied, “You can take it how you will.”
Íða Finnbogadóttir, one of Rakel’s friends, told reporters that she was allowed into the club despite wearing the same outfit as Sæborg; namely, she was wearing a fur coat. In fact, they both wore the exact same fur coat; when worn by Sæborg, the doorman had an issue, but took no exception to Íða wearing it. Íða directly quotes the doorman as saying, “I just couldn’t let a guy in a women’s fur coat into the place.”
The incident spread like wildfire across social media, prompting the university student group Röskva to cancel an event they had scheduled at Hverfisbarinn.
“Röskva originally intended to host its biggest event, Ragnarök, at Hverfisbarinn as was done last year,” a statement from Röskva says. “Now we have reliable sources that trans people and other LGBTQIA+ individuals are not welcome at Hverfisbarinn. Röskva stands for equality and wants to ensure that everyone feels welcome at events held by the association. Therefore we have decided to move our business somewhere else.”
Amazingly, Hverfisbarinn does not deny most of the specifics of the accusations against them. Cesar Santi, the manager of Hverfisbarinn, told Fréttablaðið that the doorman “said some unnecessary things that do not reflect the values of Hverfisbarinn and we regret this”, saying they will meet with the doorman to ensure this does not happen again. However, Cesar adds that “we have established rules regarding minimum age of entry and a dress code.”
No specifics were given as to how, if at all, Sæborg may have broken this dress code, and Icelanders across social media have been wondering what the dress code even is, citing the various and sundry attire they have worn to Hverfisbarinn.
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