Norway outlaws hate speech against trans and bisexual people

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11/10/2020

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Norway’s parliament outlawed hate speech against transgender and bisexual people on Tuesday, expanding its penal code which has protected gay and lesbian people since 1981. 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. “I’m very relieved actually, because (the lack of legal protection) has been an eyesore for trans people for many, many years,” said Birna Rorslett, vice president of the Association of Transgender People in Norway. 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. But reported homophobic crimes have risen, according to advocacy group, ILGA-Europe. The bill was approved on its second reading without a vote, a parliamentary spokeswoman said, after it was backed by lawmakers on its first reading last week. Trans people are “an exposed group when it comes to discrimination, harassment and violence”, Minister of Justice and Public Security Monica Maeland said. “It is imperative that the protection against discrimination offered by the criminal legislation is adapted to the practical situations that arise,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in emailed comments ahead of Tuesday’s reading. The amendments outlawed discrimination based on “gender, gender identity or expression” and changed “homosexual orientation” to “sexual orientation”, meaning bisexual as well as lesbian and gay people will be protected from discrimination.

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