Norwegian actress, Tonje Gjevjon, faces up to 3 years in prison for saying men cannot be “lesbians" KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Saturday, December 17, 2022

Norwegian actress, Tonje Gjevjon, faces up to 3 years in prison for saying men cannot be “lesbians"

Norwegian actress Tonje Gjevjon faces up to 3 years in prison for saying men cannot be “lesbians”

A gay Norwegian filmmaker faces three years in prison after she said male-to-female transgender women cannot be lesbians. 

Tonje Gjevjon spoke out against transgender activist Christine Jentoft, who transitioned from being a man and now identifies as a 'lesbian mother'. Norway expanded its penal code, which has protected gay and lesbian people since 1981, to include transgender people two years ago. 

Gjevjon, who is also an artists, told Reduxx her Facebook post was made to draw attention to Norway's amended hate speech law, adding that trans activists have tried to shut down her art exhibitions for her views. 

She wrote in an essay in Norwegian newspaper Klassekampen: 'I have stated that women are female, that lesbians do not have penises, that children should not be responsible for decisions they do not have the capacity to understand the scope of, and that no-platforming is harmful to democracy. 

'For these opinions I have been cancelled several times.' 

Gjevjon said she has been 'demonized' by the trans activists and politicians for her views. 

She wrote in the newspaper: 'I was not prepared for the extent of how queer organizations, politicians and activists would demonize a lesbian artist who was not in step. 

'Trans activists contact people I work with, portraying me as hateful and warning against being associated with me.'

Norway is one of the most liberal countries in Europe for LGBT+ people, allowing trans people to legally change gender without a medical diagnosis in 2016. 

Trans people are 'an exposed group when it comes to discrimination, harassment and violence', Minister of Justice and Public Security Monica Maeland said after the law was passed in 2020. 

'It is imperative that the protection against discrimination offered by the criminal legislation is adapted to the practical situations that arise,' she said. 

The amendments in 2020 outlawed discrimination based on 'gender identity or gender expression' and changed 'homosexual orientation' to 'sexual orientation', meaning bisexual as well as lesbian and gay people will be explicitly protected from discrimination.

Under the penal code, people charged with violent crimes can receive harsher sentences if a judge decides their actions were motivated by someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.

The law's opponents argued that it could criminalise free speech criticising LGBT+ rights, said Anine Kierulf, an assistant professor of law at the University of Oslo, at the time. Jentoft previously accused another woman, Christina Ellingsen, of transphobia for a similar claim. Ellingsen is also under investigation and faces three years in jail if found guilty. 

The post on Gjevjon’s Facebook page under investigation read, “It’s just as impossible for men to become a lesbian as it is for men to become pregnant. Men are men regardless of their sexual fetishes.”

Gjevjon has said that she intentionally posted her Facebook message to draw attention to Norway’s hate speech laws.

Gjevjon’s comments appear to be under investigation for falling under a 2020 amendment to the country’s penal code that added “gender identity and gender expression” under protected categories from hate speech. People found guilty of hate speech face a fine or up to one year in prison for private remarks, and a maximum of three years for public comments. Women’s rights activists, including the Women’s Declaration International Norway, of which Ellingsen is a representative, have claimed that the amendment undermined free speech and expression in the country. 

This is not the first time that Gjevjon has spoken out on controversial topics surrounding gender and women’s rights.

Last year, Gjevjon confronted Anette Trettebergstuen, Norway’s minister of culture and reality, claiming that misconstruing gender identity and biological sex has “harmful” and “discriminatory” implications for women, especially lesbians.

“Will the equality minister take action to ensure that lesbian women’s human rights are safeguarded, by making it clear that there are no lesbians with penises, that males cannot be lesbians regardless of their gender identity, and by tidying up the mess of the harmful gender policies left behind by the previous government?” Gjevjon asked. “I do not share an understanding of reality where the only two biological sexes are to be understood as sex. Gender identity is also important,” Trettebergstuen replied. 

The first discrimination charge in Norway that centered on gender identity was filed in 2018. The case centered on a transgender woman who complained that she was asked not to shower in the woman’s locker room of a sports center, according to female-led news organization Reduxx. 

Similar cases have cropped up across Europe, including Finland, where a religious freedom case saw tensions rise between free speech and LGBTQ advocates.

In March, Finnish Member of Parliament Päivi Räsänen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola were acquitted of all charges in their case. Räsänen faced three charges of ethnic agitation for a 2004 pamphlet, for taking part in a discussion on a radio show in 2019 and, most recently, for tweeting a picture of the Bible.

In a 2019 tweet, Räsänen questioned her church’s sponsorship of an LGBTQ Pride event and linked to an Instagram post with a picture of Romans 1:24-27, which calls same-sex intercourse “shameful.”

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