My name is Tonje Gjevjon. I am an artist, a woman, and a lesbian. I am currently under investigation for breach of the Norwegian Hate Speech Law for refusing to call men women.
I do not believe in the concept of gender identities. I insist on my right to reject this belief and for many years have articulated how degrading and damaging gender identity legislation is for women. As an artist, a woman, and a lesbian, I have witnessed and experienced a culture of abuse developed and legitimized in the wake of the legislation aimed at protecting gendered identities.
In 2019, I wrote that, had trans activism been around when I was a young tomboy, I would likely have been one of the girls sacrificed, explaining:
“I’m a lesbian tomboy who grew up in an age where the concept of being ‘born in the wrong body’ didn’t exist. If I were a child today, I wouldn’t have stood a chance against trans activism.”
Over the past six years, I have done everything I can to warn about the harms — to both women and children — of replacing the term sex with gender identity. I have published articles, participated in public hearings, and engaged in debates about sex, gender roles, sexual orientation, and LGBTQ culture since the early 2000s.
Before 2017, it was possible to debate these issues, disagreeing fiercely one moment, and head to a bar the next, to have a beer with dissenters. But the moment the Gender Recognition Act was introduced into Norwegian legislation in 2016, allowing individuals to simply declare a new sex without any medical evaluation, any attempt to ask questions or offer challenging perspectives was met with “no debate.”
Those who challenge gender identity legislation are cancelled, demonetized, subject to emotional black mail, and threatened with loss of employment. Lesbians inside the “Rainbow Family” who tried to raise awareness about how gender identity legislation could harm women and children were especially targeted and isolated — ridiculed, harassed, and ostracized with little if any support. Lesbians like me who say men cannot be lesbians are labeled as transphobes and TERFs, similar to the way lesbians in the 70s who were labeled as frigid man haters. The powerlessness I have experienced in the face of the mob has damaged me and those close to me.
Today, the Norwegian government doles out 30 million NOK a year in funding for LGBTQI+ organizations. These organizations have mostly left the “LGB” behind, and employ heterosexual men who call themselves women, lesbians, and mothers. These men also educate and advise children and gay youth. In Norwegian schools, children are taught that they themselves decide which gender they are.
Despite the fact those who speak out against gender identity ideology are vilified and censored, trans activists complain that the police don’t punish us harshly enough. The leader of the National Association for Gender and Sexuality Diversity (Foreningen FRI), published a statement encouraging individuals to contact the police if they encounter “hate speech” online, regardless of whether the speech technically qualifies under the law.
“I have lowered my threshold for reporting things to the Police Online Patrol. If you come across hate speech or things that you think are in the grey zone, you are welcome to take a screenshot and tip off the police. It is not reporting but helps them get an overview of the participants and the speech climate. I’ll be happy to send it in on your behalf if you don’t want to do it yourself.”
It seems Norway is leading the way towards McCarthyism 2.0.
As a professional artist, I have made and produced films, videos, performances, visual art, and songs commenting on issues related to women, lesbians, the female body, the LGBTQ movement and the “Rainbow family” since 1999.
In 2018, I was invited to participate in an exhibition at Haugar Art Museum called “Hen — Fluid gender.” Originally, the exhibition aimed to present different perspectives on gender. I was invited because my focus as an artist has been on women, lesbian love, and the female body, and the exhibition intended to explore how gender issues were addressed in contemporary art. But, the exhibition took a turn, focusing on gender identity and the Norweigen word, “hen” — a third pronoun meaning neither feminine nor masculine. I had planned to perform “Vagina Anthem,” a song I wrote addressing the way in which women are attacked for speaking out about sex-based rights, our biological reality, and gender identity. A few days before the opening of the exhibition, the curator informed me, over the phone, that she and the leaders of the Haugar Art Museum had decided that the lyrics of “Vagina Anthem” might offend trans people, explaining specifically that the lines, “I am a hateful ugly Terf” and “We are women with vaginas” were “provocative,” and could cause a safety risk.
In October 2020, I signed an agreement to curate an exhibition featuring the works of a deceased lesbian artist at Kunstplass Contemporary Art in Oslo. In December 2021, the gallerist informed me that I was cancelled from the exhibition as I could no longer be associated with as an artist. She told me I had been blacklisted. Afterwards, she was quoted in a newspaper, saying, “At one point, we [determined] that an exhibition produced by Gjevjon would be incompatible with our profile and our values.” The gallerists knew me and were aware of my outspoken views on gender identity, so this statement came as a surprise to me.
In March 2022, I attended the Women’s Day demonstration in Oslo with my wife. I and other members of WDI Norway carried a placard reading, “Trans women are men.” Trans activists contacted my wife’s employers, accusing her of “spreading hate,” claiming she was unfit for her job. She was not fired, but the experience was incredibly stressful for her.
In 2020, Norway’s parliament outlawed “hate speech against transgender people,” meaning those found guilty face a fine or up to a year in jail for private remarks, and a maximum of three years in jail for public comments. The first Supreme Court decision regarding hate speech on the basis of gender identity and gender expression came in September, when the Norwegian Supreme Court upheld a 2021 Hordaland District Court ruling, deciding that a 53-year-old man had violated Section 185 of the Criminal Code on hate speech by making “offensive and punishable remarks” about a “trans woman” on Facebook. The man was given a 15-day suspended sentence and two years probation, ordered to pay a fine of $15,000NOK.
In protest of what I consider to be an indefensible approach to gender identity ideology in Norway, I made it my goal to repeat the condemned speech, thereby challenging Section 185 of the Penal Code.
On October 1st, I deliberately used the same wording as the man convicted in the Hordaland ruling in a Facebook post, linking it to lesbian sexual orientation. I wrote:
“Men who perma-LARP that they are lesbians and women are, as I see it, discriminatory against women and perverted fetishists. There are male employees at queer organizations who identify as women and lesbians. One of them is Christine Jentoft who used to be called Christer Jentoft. He is employed as a consultant by Foreningen FRI, who for some strange reason still says they work for lesbians”… Queer associations such as Foreningen FRI and men who fetishize being a lesbian are now using the legislation passed by the Storting to press charges against people who do not want to conform to this crazy religious regime. It is as impossible for men to become lesbians as it is for men to become pregnant. Men are men regardless of sexual fetishes — so the fact that men with fetishes are protected as a vulnerable minority through the idiotic and fabricated concept of gender identity is bananas.”
The conviction in the Hordaland ruling is relevant to women — especially lesbians — as the judgment removes a necessary tool, depriving us of the right to call out men’s predatory, creepy, or perverted behavior. It is necessary for women to be able to describe and name male behaviour that could endanger women and girls, but the hate speech legislation used to charge the man in the Hordaland case can easily be used to silence women who attempt to name male predators as such.
The National Competence Center in Hate Crime reported my post, and on November 17th, I received a letter from the police, summoning me for questioning. I appeared for questioning at the police station on December 9.
LGBTQ+ organizations do not protect women, children, or lesbians.
Since the 1970s, women — and radical feminists in particular — have been the gatekeepers who stand between the pimp industry, the surrogacy industry, the porn industry and vulnerable women and children. Labelling radical feminists and women’s rights campaigns like WDI “transphobic” is just another attempt to destroy the gatekeepers. Legislation protecting men who call themselves women provides protection to adult abusers and who want increased access to the bodies of women and children.
In Norway, organizations like Foreningen Fri put toxic men (and women) wearing gendered identities in positions of power.
In 2019, an adult man claiming to be a woman created a Twitter user account called “Real Woman.” He built up a credible profile, nurtured the account, followed the right people, and liked relevant posts. The man used the account to contact a woman who was connected to parents in The Norwegian Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) network. He presented himself to her as a worried mother with a ROGD child in order to get information he could use to doxx and/or publicly vilify these parents. Today, he is the leader of a local department of Foreningen fri in Rogaland. This man has a prominent voice and presence online as well as in mainstream media, representing men claiming to be women. In 2019, he created a petition demanding I be removed as columnist at Dagbladet (a nationally significant newspaper), claiming I am “dangerous” and “take lives.”
These are the kinds of men now dictating policy that impacts women and girls, and are working to silence women who speak up.
I will not give up until we win
With every fiber in my female body, I reject the idea that men can be women, lesbians or mothers. I am appalled that our Parliament has made it impossible to reject the gender identity belief system and to call out harmful and abusive behavior among men claiming to be women.
As a woman, lesbian, and artist I have taken the fight for girls and women’s sex-based rights to the legislative level to see how these so-called protections for LGBTQ+ individuals work for a lesbian artist.
Take me to court!
Tonje Gjevjon is a Norwegian artist, filmmaker, and activist, as well as a leader of the lesbian performance group Hungry Hearts.