In August 2021 the profile of bloggers Gisle A. Gjevestad Agledahl arranged a Pride in the small village of Fyresdal. This must prove to be opposed by parts of the local community.
Among other things, there was already a problem in June, when Aglidal was trying to provide accommodations for guests.
– It was a hotel he refused to rent to people who came at the weekend, and we had to arrange the pride, said Agledahl Good evening Norway.
Fyresdal Kurs and Leirsted are described as “charming in a rustic and relaxed atmosphere” on their website. The hotel consists of 36 rooms and ten apartments, specially equipped for courses and camps.
– They said it was a family place, and they had zero tolerance for alcohol. Aglidal explains: I think our event was a family event, it was in association with the Youth Council which is made up of young people up to the age of 14.
Thank you to the guests
When Agledahl reached out to Fyresdal Kurs and Leirsted by email in June, he was informed that he was planning an event for August 21, which meant a number of people needed to stay in the village.
Then Aglidal asked if they had the ability to provide accommodation, and guessed that the ten apartments could be filled quickly, plus more rooms. He also asked how best to solve this problem – whether everyone should book themselves or whether they should book as a group.
Fyresdal Kurs og Leirsted’s general manager, Jostein Waskaas, responded that they have the ability to accept reservations this weekend. He stated that they do both individual and group bookings, and attached a link to the site with rates and information. Waskas also asked what kind of event it was.
When Agledahl said the Pride was to be arranged, the tone quickly changed.
«Tifas your request.
Fyresdal Kurs og Leirsted is a camping site with a clear family picture with a complete alcohol ban.
We believe the type of arrangement you describe can easily lead to the type of attachment that does not fit this profile.
So we say no to your order. ».
In response, Agledahl writes that pride is an event with a clear family profile. He explained that the local youth council should be involved in the organization and have a free age limit. He also wrote that the event is all about philanthropy, diversity, and inclusion, something he believes falls under the hotel’s values.
The last email was not answered.
Good evening Aglidal told Norway that he eventually tried to contact the hotel.
– I called him after a few weeks of emails and then the general manager said they are closed this weekend.
I stay open anyway
Waskas had another explanation for Telemarksavisa.
In an article published a week before the event General Manager said:
– We got a reservation from a large group but we have some vacant apartments.
And so it turned out that the hotel was open over the weekend, and the pride was to be arranged anyway, contrary to what was told to Agiedal over the phone a month in advance.
Good evening, Norway recently contacted the General Manager by phone.
Wascas initially did not want to comment on the case, but eventually said this:
We are a family hotel that rents out to groups and parish weekends, and our tenants are in-house. We do not rent to individuals in the hotel. We do not have one reservation in the hotel, we only have one reservation in the apartments.
A quick search on the hotel’s website shows this to be incorrect.
When Waskas is confronted with this, he replies that if they receive requests for individual reservations in hotel rooms, they are transferred to the apartments.
– We have room pricing on the website but we will refer them to the apartments if we receive a request. We don’t want to lose those customers. Backtracking in Fyresdal is hardly a thing, almost no one has come across the Fyresdal Pass. He says: The place here is completely deserted and there is no traffic. He adds:
– This hotel was built in 1979, everyone who ran it went bankrupt and there were many drivers. There is no market for delivery in Fyresdal.
Waskas also explains that it is an alcohol-free place.
– We are not interested in renting an “alternative scheme” or an alcohol event.
When Norway says good evening that Aglidal reported that there was no talk of an alcohol event, and that it was arranged in cooperation with the Youth Council, Waskas answers this:
– it is what it is. If you’ve ever been to Fyresdal and met someone over 16 on a Saturday night, no one would be so vigilant at a party. We picture it that way, and we don’t open up to a party at our hotel.
– don’t hang up
Wascas also says he sent an email a week before the event to other Pride guests, writing that apartments can be booked. According to him, this was not answered.
When asked why Geisel Gifstad-Aglidal did not receive the same offer at his request, Waskas wrote the following:
– As I understand Geisel, he wanted us to open the hotel for this event. It was not appropriate for us to open the hotel for a concert in Bryggeparken. All of these Fyresdal events were associated with heavy alcohol intake and youth. We chose apartment rentals, because they are limited to each self-catering apartment, he writes.
That’s not true, according to Aglidal. In the email request, he said the concert would take place at Næringshagen, which is owned by the municipality, which has nothing to do with Versdale Corse and Leristide. So there was no talk of opening the entire hotel.
– Again this is out of the question and joins the ranks of explanations. Nothing would be better than if this were a misunderstanding, but unfortunately it is not, says Agledahl to Good night Norway.
Definitely not a place in the hostel
At first, Aglidal says, he found the distinction very difficult to spot, because people cover it up with other explanations. But he thinks what the hotel did was discriminate.
Unfortunately, the distinction is often difficult to prove. As here, interpretations are constantly changing and they avoid commenting on the gist of the issue. If they think this was a misunderstanding, they can just say gay people are welcome, then we’re done with this. But certainly no place in the inn, he says, before continuing:
– Fortunately, love won this time, because when the residents of Ferrisdale heard that the camp site would not be rented, they opened their homes to whoever wanted to participate in Pride. Have you heard anything nicer!
Good evening, Norway contacted the Acting Equality and Discrimination Ombudsman May Schwartz who said this about the case:
«We do not know all the details of this case and therefore we comment only on a general basis.
As a clear starting point, according to the Equality and Discrimination Act, a person may not be denied a product or service on the basis of race, religion, functional ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. This type of discrimination is also punishable under Article 186 of the Penal Code, and violations of the law can result in fines and imprisonment.
The Court of Cassation is, otherwise, a free and impartial administrative body, which assesses and decides on cases of discrimination. If any of the interested parties have questions about the legislation or grounds for discrimination, they are welcome to contact us. »
Aglidal has now contacted the Directorate for Gender Equality itself, and is considering reporting the case. Tell Good Evening Norway that they have agreed to hold a meeting next week.
Waskas sticks by his statements, and believes the hotel does not discriminate.
– We don’t discriminate, but this is an alcohol-free camping site and we consider the Fyresdal concert/party an alcohol-containing event. This is nothing new for us, there are so many parties organized in Fyresdal that we do not open the reservation for them. Aud Kristin Lukassen (concert organizer at Fyresdal, journal.anm) can confirm this.
Lukassen confirms this in a text message to Good night Norway.
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