Norwegian actress charged with hate speech for saying men cannot be lesbians, facing up to three years in prison

A woman in Norway is facing up to three years in prison on criminal hate-speech charges after saying that a man cannot be a lesbian. 

Tonje Gjevjon, a lesbian filmmaker and actress, was informed on November 17th that she was under investigation for speaking out against prominent Norwegian activist Christine Jentoft on Facebook. Jentoft is a transgender female that often refers to herself as a lesbian mother.

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. 

“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 reportedly said on Facebook.

According to the New York Post, an amendment in Norway’s penal code which stipulates that “gender identity and gender expression” are protected categories from hate speech. Those accused of hate speech will either be fined or sentenced up to one year in prison for private remarks, and a maximum of three years for public comments. 

Ellingsen, a women’s rights activists with the Women’s Declaration International Norway, says that the amendment has undermined free speech and expression in the country. 

Gjevjon made similar comments last year when she said 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 Norway’s minister of culture and reality, according to the post.

“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,” the minister replied.




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