Norway to ban LGBT conversion therapy

Norway will submit a bill to ban LGBT conversion therapy as part of a broader action plan aimed at improving the lives of LGBT people in the country, the government announced Thursday.

Norway to ban LGBT conversion therapy
Norway has set out five areas it wishes to focus on in its action plan. Photo by Stavrialena Gontzou on Unsplash

The announcement that government would outlaw conversion therapy was made by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the unveiling of an action plan focused on improving the lives of LGBT people in Norway and advocating for LGBT rights globally.

“Both nationally and internationally, it is more important than ever to stand up for LGBT rights,” Solberg told reporters at the event.

“The government will soon send for a consultation on a bill to ban conversion therapy. This is an important and big step in the right direction,” Solberg added.

Conversion therapy is the controversial act of attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The bill will be sent for public consultation before it is passed through parliament.

READ MORE: Why Norway is one of the world’s most inclusive nations 

Minister of Culture Abid Raja also spoke at the event and said conversion therapy was a key issue for the government.

“This is one of the focus areas. Conversion therapy takes the freedom from a person and exposes them to immense psychological pressure to try and destroy the self-image of the person,” Raja said.

The ban on conversion therapy is just one of 46 measures announced as part of the action plan with five focus areas.

The five priority areas government will be focusing on are increased knowledge and research of LGBT issues, increased transparency surrounding gender and sexual diversity with equal access to public services, equality in working life and safe local environments and public spaces for LGBT people, a ban on conversion therapy and to continue championing LGBT rights internationally.

13 government ministers are supporting the action plan.

Solberg also announced that next year’s pride event would be funded from the states national budget.

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WATCH: Viral Norwegian Christmas ad where Santa has a boyfriend

A Christmas advert by Posten, the Norwegian postal service, which depicts Santa in a same-sex relationship, has been branded "fantastic" and "perfect" after going viral. 

Pictured is a screenshot from Posten's Christmas advert.
The advert where Santa Claus falls in love with Harry, both pictured above, has caused a stir on social media. Picture from screenshot Youtube/ Posten.

Posten’s Christmas advert titled “When Harry met Santa” — a nod to the 1989 rom-com “When Harry met Sally…” — has caused a splash since it premiered on social media before airing on Norwegian screens this week. 

The new ad follows up on last year’s offering where Santa was angry at the postal service for taking away his “business”. 

The nearly four-minute film sees Santa and Harry build up a bond over several years. However, the pair are restricted to fleeting encounters due to Santa’s packed schedule- until he enlists Posten to ease his workload so the two can spend more time together before sharing a kiss in the final scene. 

The advert was made to mark next year’s 50th anniversary of same-sex relationships being decriminalised in the Scandinavian country.

“This year, it’s all about love – highlighting the fact that 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Norway,” Posten said in a statement to newswire Reuters.

“In addition to showing the flexibility of our services, we want to put it in a socially relevant setting,” it said.

Mats Strandberg, who is married to Johan Ehn, the actor who plays Harry, tweeted, “That’s my husband kissing Santa!”. 

Below you can watch the ad with English subtitles.