Norwegian female filmmaker and actress Tonje Gjevjon faces three years in prison after posting on her Facebook Page that men cannot be a lesbian. In 2020, Norway amended its penal code to include “gender identity and gender expression” under categories protected from hate speech.
Gjevjon was informed that she was under investigation for criticizing transgender activist Christine Jentoft on Facebook. Jentoft is a transgender woman who often describes herself as a lesbian mother. Jentoft accused another woman, Christina Ellingsen, of transphobia for making a similar comment. Ellingsen could also be jailed for three years if found guilty.
The post that landed Gjevjon in trouble 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 amendment to the hate speech law has been criticized by women's rights activists, including Women's Declaration International Norway, of which Ellingsen is a member, who claim it will undermine free speech.
It is not the first time Gjevjon has publicly commented on controversial topics related to women's and gender rights. Last year, she criticized Norway's minister of culture and reality Anette Trettebergstuen misconstruing biological sex and gender identity, arguing it is “discriminatory” and “harmful” to women, especially lesbians.
“Will the equality minister take action to ensure that lesbian womens' 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.