On This Day: a Historical Throwback

21 April 2018 marks the 46th anniversary of decriminalization of male homosexuality (as sexual acts between females were not even considered ‘sex’) in Norway in 1972. However, it took 6 more years for homosexuality to be removed from the list of officially recognized psychiatric conditions. These legal triumphs were possible thanks to prominent Norwegian human rights activist Karen-Christine Friele (b.1935). She also contributed to the fight for legal changes that made discrimination against non-heterosexual people illegal in 1981. Popularly known as ‘Rasismeparagrafen’, the law in its present form prohibits any unjust treatment of anyone based on their ethnic origins, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or physical disability.

Oslo Pride 2016_Giulia Troisi
Oslo Pride, 2016. Photo credit: Giulia Troisi

In his 2016 speech King Harald V expressed the ideas of social inclusion that are now the cornerstones of Norwegian society: “Norwegians are girls who love girls, boys who love boys, and boys and girls who love each other. Norwegians believe in God, Allah, everything and nothing.” Not only ideologically but practically too, today same-sex couples can fully enjoy the well deserved equality: civil same-sex marriage is legal in Norway since 2009, and church marriage since 2017.


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