Top Norway billionaire comes out as gay

Norway’s second richest billionaire, supermarket tycoon Stein Erik Hagen, has come out as gay, outing himself in front of more than two million viewers on Norway’s leading chat show.

Top Norway billionaire comes out as gay
Stein Erik Hagen (right) with openly gay businessman Christen Sveaas. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB scanpix
Hagen, 59, who built his $4.3bn fortune on the RIMI budget supermarket he founded with his father in 1977, told NRK’s Skavlan show that he had slowly come to understand his sexuality in adulthood.
“I realised I was gay well into adulthood. When I was in my 20s we didn’t know what it was. We heard about it but did not associate ourselves with it.” 
The revelation sends Hagen straight to the number two slot in the list of the world’s gay plutocrats, just behind the entertainment mogul David Geffen on $6.9bn, but ahead of PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, with $2.8bn. 
Hagen, who separated from his second wife Mille-Marie Treschow in 2012 after an eight-year marriage, and has five children, said after the interview was aired that both his wives and most of his friends had long known about his sexuality.  
“To say that I’m gay is not entirely correct,” he told VG newspaper. “I’m bisexual, and to everyone in the family, all my friends and those who know me, that’s something which comes as no surprise. The same goes for those I have been married to, including Mille-Marie Treschow. She knew. And it wasn’t the reason we split up.”
Christian Sveaas, 59, who Hagen has ousted as Norway's richest openly gay man, lauded his friend's decision. 
“Those of us who know him have known this a long time, so it's not such great news for us,” he said in an email to DN newspaper.  “I can say that it's about time”. 

Bård Nylund, leader of Norway’s National Association for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, said he hoped Hagen’s example would encourage other older gay men to be open about their sexuality.

“To live a life of openness is much better than living a life in hiding,” he said. 
“I think he can be an inspiration for more and I hope that people realise that just because you wait to come out, does not mean that it’s a bad idea to come out. Come out when you’re ready. It doesn’t matter if you are 35 or 65, because choosing openness is much better than letting it be.”

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Oslo Pride cancels street festival over coronavirus fears

Oslo Pride has cancelled this year's street parade, announcing plans to instead celebrate the city's gay, lesbian and transgender people with a virtual festival.

Oslo Pride cancels street festival over coronavirus fears
The parade normally attracts 450,000 people. Photo: Martin Fjellanger/Oslo Pride
Fredrik Dreyer, Chairman of Oslo Pride, said that in the current “frightening and unreal” situation, it was impossible to go ahead with the physical festival which had been due to take place between June 19 and June 28. 
“It is our absolute last resort and we have turned over every stone in the hunt for a possible solution, including a postponement or a change in date,” Dreyer said in a press release
“It would not be responsible for us to hold the physical events during Oslo Pride given the dangers posed in terms of spreading infection.
“Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean there will be no Pride – there will! We are far more than just a festival – and you’ll see that this year too.” 
The decision to cancel a parade in mid-June will raise further questions over the government's delay in taking a decision over the children's parades that form the centre of National Day celebrations on May 17. 
“We know that this is a decision we have to take, but we want to know a little more first,” Justice Minister Monica Mæland said in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. 
As many as 450,000 people take place in the city's Pride march every year, making it one of the most colourful and well-attended events in the city each year. 
In the press release, Dreyer said that his organisation was already planning “alternative events to show the strength of our community”. 
“We will be live-streaming debates to showcase the breadth of our movement and the diversity in our community. We will continue to make our mark as norm breakers across all social media, and we want you on board too!” he said.
Ole Prin-Sand, Head of Pride Art, said he was “heartbroken” that the physical festival had been cancelled. 
“But we are excited about and see great potential in engaging with an audience across the country through the use of digital solutions,” he said.