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social sciences

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He became progressively subservient to his physician, Johann Friedrich Struensee, who rose steadily in power in the late 1760s. The neglected and lonely Caroline Mathilde herself drifted into an affair with Struensee. In 1772, the king's marriage was dissolved and Struensee was arrested and executed in that same year. Christian died in 1808 from a brain aneurysm at Rendsburg, Schleswig.

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), Norway's greatest composer, has long been rumored to have been bisexual. Although married in 1867 to his first cousin, Nina Hagerup, in his later life Grieg apparently became infatuated with the handsome, young Australian composer and pianist, Percy Grainger. Both men shared an interest in Scandinavia and folk music. "I love him like I love a young woman," Grieg was once quoted as saying.

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One of Norway's most prominent authors of the late nineteenth century, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832-1910), who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1906, wrote about same-sex feelings in his 1891 essay "Sin and Illness" ("Synd og Sygdom"), and about a romantic male friendship in the short story "Ivar Bye" (1894). He was a lifelong friend of the Danish critic Clemens Petersen, who was forced to emigrate to the United States in 1869 because of repeated rumors that he had affairs with boys at the school where he was a teacher. Bjørnson also openly supported the pioneering sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld in his fight to repeal the German laws that criminalized homosexuality.

The first major Norwegian writer to declare himself a bisexual was Jens Bjørneboe (1920-1976), whose work spanned a number of literary formats, including poems, plays, and novels, several of which contain themes of homosexuality. Many critics suggest his most significant work is the trilogy known as The History of Bestiality, which consists of the novels Moment of Freedom (Frihetens Øyeblikk, 1966), Powderhouse (Kruttårnet, 1969) and The Silence (Stillheten, 1973).

Feminist, activist and teacher, Gerd Brantenberg (b. 1941), is Norway's preeminent lesbian writer. Her first novel, What Comes Naturally (Opp alle jordens homophile, 1973), is a gay coming-out story in the form of a sarcastic monologue. Her next book, Daughters of Egalia (Egalias døtre, 1977), is a satire about the fantasy country Egalia, where the women are in power and oppress the men; the book became an international bestseller. Her trilogy, The Song of St. Croix (Sangen om St. Croix, 1979), At the Quay (Ved fergestedet, 1985), and The Four Winds (For alle vinder, 1996), portrays a young woman who gradually comes to realize her love for other women. Embraces (Favntak, 1983), tells the love story of a married woman and a lesbian. Hermit and Entertainer (Eremitt og entertainer, 1991), is a collection of essays and lectures on feminist, gay, and literary topics. She has also been instrumental in the founding of the Lesbian Movement in Denmark (1974) and Norway (1975), and was a board member of Norway's first glbtq organization, Forbundet av 1948.

Norway's GLBTQ Organizations and Pride Events

The country's leading glbtq organization LLH, which stands for "Landsforeningen for lesbisk og homofil frigjøring" (The National Association for Lesbian and Gay Liberation), works politically and socially at national and local levels to enable lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals to lead their lives openly, without fear of ostracism, discrimination, or persecution.

The organization had its early beginnings in 1949, when the Danish Forbundet af 1948 accepted two representatives in Norway. The Norwegian Forbundet av 1948 was formalized as a separate organization in 1952, but worked in secrecy out of concern for criminal prosecution and discrimination. In 1992, LLH was formed as a result of a merger between the Norwegian Forbundet av 1948 and Fellesrådet for homofile organisasjoner i Norge.

LLH focuses public and government attention on cases of discrimination against glbtq people by asserting political and diplomatic pressure, providing information, and working with other organizations and national media. Over the years, the Norwegian government has substantially increased state funding for the organization, which is used for rights-based, organizational development and information activities.

Currently, LLH has about 2,000 members.

Blikk, Norway's largest magazine for gay men and lesbians, is published monthly and has a circulation of approximately 6,000. In 2006, state funding was provided for distribution of the magazine to all public libraries and to selected libraries at upper secondary schools in the largest urban centers.

Skeive Dager Oslo is the capital city's annual glbtq event and the largest pride festival in Norway. The Oslo Pride week takes place in late June and includes a film festival, concerts, workshops, exhibitions, and many other glbtq entertainment events, such as comedy acts, club nights, and sporting competitions.

The Bergen Pride Festival, held annually in May in Norway's second largest city, offers a full week of glbtq entertainment and events, culminating in a gay and lesbian pride parade.

Craig Kaczorowski

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social sciences >> Overview:  Anti-discrimination Statutes and Ordinances

Anti-discrimination statutes and ordinances have made a real difference in the lives of millions of glbtq individuals.

social sciences >> Overview:  Denmark

Denmark has a reputation for sexual liberation, tolerance, and progressive social policy in regards to glbtq issues.

social sciences >> Overview:  Finland

Like other Nordic countries, Finland is liberal in regards to gay rights, though it has been slower than its neighbors to assure glbtq equality.

social sciences >> Overview:  Iceland

In recent decades, gay men and lesbians in Iceland have made significant legal advances, but life continues to be difficult for glbtq people outside the capital.

social sciences >> Overview:  Immigration Law

Those countries that allow the immigration of glbtq persons based on persecution in their home countries often raise difficulties or apply the existing laws inequitably, especially in the case of glbtq couples who apply for entry as domestic partners.

social sciences >> Overview:  Lutheranism

Lutheranism is riven into numerous denominations, which vary widely in their attitudes toward homosexuality and in their acceptance of gay men and lesbians as full participants in church life.

social sciences >> Overview:  Military Culture: European

Attitudes toward gay and lesbian personnel in European militaries vary widely, from the acceptance of the Dutch to the laissez-faire policy of the French to the rejection of the Greek and Turkish forces.

social sciences >> Overview:  The Netherlands

The successes of the Dutch emancipation movement have served as an inspiration to the international struggle for glbtq equality.

literature >> Overview:  Norwegian Literature

Although same-sex relations have existed in Norwegian culture since at least the Middle Ages and some contemporary Norwegian writers are openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual, they do not necessarily create gay characters or raise gay issues in each one of their works.

social sciences >> Overview:  Same-Sex Marriage

Lesbian and gay couples have been fighting for the freedom to marry since the dawn of the modern glbtq struggle for equality; despite some success abroad, progress toward same-sex marriage in the United States has been slow.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sweden

A liberal and democratic kingdom, Sweden has a reputation for sexual openness, yet it maintains a law that punishes buyers of sex from prostitutes.

social sciences >> Overview:  Switzerland

Switzerland is a very cosmopolitan nation with a vibrant glbtq community, but it has lagged behind much of Europe, particularly the Nordic countries, when it comes to assuring equal rights.

social sciences >> Overview:  Workplace Discrimination

Although work remains to be done, the expansion of protection from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation stands as one of the significant accomplishments of the American lesbian and gay civil rights movement.

social sciences >> Gustav V, King of Sweden

The last Swedish monarch to exert direct power over his nation's government, King Gustav V was a memorable personality, a successful king, and a bisexual.

social sciences >> Hirschfeld, Magnus

German-born Magnus Hirschfeld deserves recognition as a significant theorist of sexuality and the most prominent advocate of homosexual emancipation of his time.


Almås, Elsa, and Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad. "Norway." The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. Robert T. Francoeur, ed. 4 vols. New York: Continuum, 1997-2001.

Landsforeningen for lesbisk og homofil frigjøring (LLH; The National Association for Lesbian and Gay Liberation):

Norway, Official Web Site:

"Norway Minister Marries Gay Lover: First in Government to Do so in Tolerant Country." The Associated Press (January 15, 2002).

"Norway's Lutherans Ease Ban On Gay Clergy In Relationships." The Associated Press (November 23, 2007).

Official Travel and Visitor's Guide to Oslo, Norway:


    Citation Information
    Author: Kaczorowski, Craig  
    Entry Title: Norway  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2008  
    Date Last Updated July 3, 2008  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2008 glbtq, Inc.  


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