Norwegian government apologies to gay people 50 years after decriminalisation

Norway's government on Wednesday offered an official apology to homosexuals ahead of the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the Nordic country.

Norwegian government apologies to gay people 50 years after decriminalisation
Norway's PM has apologised to the LGBT community. Pictured: Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store addresses media representatives as he arrives ahead of an extraordinary NATO summit at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on March 24, 2022. Photo by Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP.

“I would like to apologise on behalf of the Norwegian government for the fact that homosexual people have been treated as criminals and prosecuted by the Norwegian authorities,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said during a public event held together with rights groups.

According to the government, 119 men were convicted in Norway between 1902 and 1950 for having sex with other men, under a paragraph of the penal code that was removed on April 21, 1972.

While sex between men was punishable by imprisonment, its criminalisation also contributed to the stigmatisation of homosexuals elsewhere in society.

“The law had a large symbolic value and meant that queer people were subjected to widespread condemnation, extensive discrimination, slander and blackmail,” the government said in a statement.

“Criminalising and prosecuting people for their love life, medically treating healthy people, depriving them of career and work opportunities are serious violations of our values,” it added.

Rights activists welcomed the official apology, while pointing to areas for improvement, such as a ban on conversion therapy, the introduction of a legal third gender or improved access to care for transgender people.

“For many of us, it may be too little too late. We know that many people have lived and are still living their lives marked by stigma,” Inge Alexander Gjestvang, leader of gay rights group FRI, told broadcaster TV2.

According to a report published in 2020 by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), homosexuality was prohibited in 69 countries, including 11 where it is punishable by death.

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Norwegian police to remain armed with advice to postpone Pride events dropped 

Norwegian police will continue to be armed following a mass shooting in Oslo, but the advice for Pride events nationwide to be postponed has been scrapped, the Police Directorate announced Wednesday. 

Norwegian police to remain armed with advice to postpone Pride events dropped 

Police in Norway will continue to be armed for the foreseeable future, the Norwegian Police Directorate announced yesterday. 

It was announced that police in Norway be armed following a mass shooting in Oslo, which left two dead and 21 injured last week

Yesterday, Norway’s domestic intelligence and counter-terrorism service, PST, lowered the terrorist threat level from extraordinary to high- the second-highest level. 

“The threat level in Norway has changed from extraordinary, to high, according to PST. The danger of follow-up actions or inspired attacks means that the police will continue to be temporarily armed,” the Police Directorate wrote on its website

The police said that PST had widened the threat picture from LGBT groups to other broader targets. 

“PST maintains that LGBTQI + is still included in the target picture, but also people and events that are perceived to offend Islam, religious gatherings and uniformed personnel from the police and defence,” the police said on its website. 

Police also dropped the advice that Pride and LGBT events across the country be postponed. The recommendation was implemented due to a fear of copycat attacks from PST. 

Decisions on whether it was safe for events to go ahead would be made by local authorities going forward. 

“A national recommendation to postpone Pride events expires. The police districts will themselves make risk assessments related to individual events and handling of large crowds based on the overall threat picture and local conditions,” police director Benedicte Bjørnland said.