In Norway, a filmmaker is facing up to three years in prison on criminal hate-speech charges for saying that a man cannot become a lesbian.
Tonje Gjevjon, a lesbian filmmaker and actress, was informed on Nov. 17 that she was under investigation for a post on her Facebook page that 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."
The post was in response to a prominent Norwegian trans activist, Christine Jentoft, who is a transgender biological male who identifies as a “lesbian mother” and a “gaymer.” Jentoft had 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, as reported by Rebel News.
Gjevjon has said that she intentionally posted her Facebook message to draw attention to Norway’s hate speech laws, which were amended in 2020 to add "gender identity and gender expression" under protected categories from hate speech, Reduxx reported.
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 have argued that the amendment undermines free speech and expression in the country.
Gjevjon has previously spoken out on controversial topics surrounding gender and women’s rights, including confronting Norway’s minister of culture and reality, Anette Trettebergstuen, 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.
According to Reduxx, the first discrimination charge in the country that centered around gender identity was filed in 2018, centering around a biological male who complained about being asked not to use the showers in the women’s locker rooms of a sports center.