On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Norway, the government has decided to ask for forgiveness. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr issued an official apology to the gay community.
“Homosexual people have been treated like criminals and prosecuted by the Norwegian authorities” notably regretted the head of government. According to the figures, 119 men were convicted in Norway between 1902 and 1950 for having sex with other men. This, under a paragraph of the penal code which was finally removed on April 21, 1972.
“Serious violations of our values”
Before that, homosexuality was not only punishable by imprisonment, but its criminalization also contributed to the stigmatization of homosexual people.
“The law had an important symbolic value and made that homosexuals were exposed to multiple condemnations, discriminations, slanders and blackmails”, thus underlines the Norwegian government, in a press release. Criminalizing and prosecuting people for their love life, treating (medically) healthy people, depriving these people of career and work opportunities are serious violations of our values.”
For gay rights activists, this official apology is positive but should not overshadow the continuation of their fight. In particular, they underline the progress to be made concerning the prohibition of conversion therapy, the introduction of a third legal sex or even access to care for transsexuals.
Referring to those who “have lived and still live their lives marked by stigma”, the leader of the FRI association, Inge Alexander Gjestvang, believes that “it may be too little too late”. Recall that, according to a report by the International Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People (Ilga), in 2020 homosexuality was prohibited in 69 countries, including 11 in which it is punishable by death.