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Gay Norwegian filmmaker faces three years in prison

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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’
  • Gjevjon is now under police investigation and faces three years in prison 
  • Norway’s parliament outlawed hate speech against transgender people in 2020 

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’. 

‘It is just as impossible for men to become lesbians as it is for men to become pregnant,’ Gjevjon wrote on Facebook in October. ‘Men are men regardless of their sexual fetishes’. 

Gjevjon is now under police investigation and faces a maximum of three years in jail for her public comments after Norway’s parliament outlawed hate speech against transgender people in 2020. 

Tonje Gjevjon (pictured) spoke out against transgender activist Christine Jentoft, a transgender woman who transitioned from being a man and now identifies as a ‘lesbian mother’

'It is just as impossible for men to become lesbians as it is for men to become pregnant,' Gjevjon wrote on Facebook in October. 'Men are men regardless of their sexual fetishes'

‘It is just as impossible for men to become lesbians as it is for men to become pregnant,’ Gjevjon wrote on Facebook in October. ‘Men are men regardless of their sexual fetishes’

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.’

Gjevjon (pictured) is now under police investigation and faces a maximum of three years in jail for her public comments after Norway's parliament outlawed hate speech against transgender people in 2020

Gjevjon (pictured) is now under police investigation and faces a maximum of three years in jail for her public comments after Norway’s parliament outlawed hate speech against transgender people in 2020

In Norway, the parliament outlawed hate speech against transgender people in 2020. 

People found guilty of hate speech face a fine or up to a year in jail for private remarks, and a maximum of three years in jail for public comments, according to the penal code. 

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. 

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