NORWAY Freedom Under Law — At Last
Since 1902, Norway has been operating repressive laws against the male gay population, similar to those recently repealed in England. In 1970 the Norwegian Association of Homosexuals decided to work actively towards the reform of these laws. In just two years, after a multi-media attack (the press, lectures to schools, social workers, doctors, priests, parents, teachers, the church and political organisations) the association managed to break down many of the traditional barriers between society and the gay world. In 1971 Parliament discussed the legal position of homosexuals, and on April 14, 1972, Norway became the first of the Scandinavian countries to abolish the Homosexual Penal Clause, and with it legal discrimination against homosexuals.
Not only that triumph, but the Health Department provided the Association with 10,000 kroner (£600) to publish a brochure on homosexuality to be distributed to all Norwegian schools and members of the public. And society’s attitude is already said to be changing for the better.
Job Discrimination Begins To Crumble
The Swedish Union for Sexual Equality (RFSL) is investigating if there are professions who still consider sexual inclinations in their assessment of applicants. Last year they managed to force educational authorities in Sweden to declare openly that the sexual inclinations of a teacher are of no importance. However, would-be sailors can still be refused if it’s discovered they’re gay (this doesn’t apply to the girls, though). After a certain amount of lobbying however, the Establishment is finally listening, and there are now chances that this discrimination will stop
One of the strangest battles the RFSL is having with the Establishment at the moment is who should pay for beard removal for sex change cases. The operation has been legal since July, paid for by their equivalent to our National Health. But the complex and expensive treatment to remove the beard is considered a beauty treatment and the individual concerned expected to pay the full costs themselves. As RFSL point out, changing sex involves a lot of mental and practical problems and mustn’t include financial troubles as well. From the way RFSL seems to be getting results, there won’t be many bearded ladies around in Sweden for much longer.
Marriage a la Mod
A Government appointed committee is looking into the reform of marriage laws in Sweden. This is understood by the RFSL as being total reform. So far the committee has resolutely ignored homosexual marriage, and this has made RFSL rather cross.
They have circularised the committee and press with a few suggestions. These include Family Allowances for legally married homosexual couples. The mind boggles! Seriously though, their ideas appear straightforward and valid, in fact they seem to be about ten light years ahead of us in their social reform thinking. They want a marriage that is exactly equal to a heterosexual couple – the simplified Registry Office type, or the full white wedding bit as desired.
Basically their aims are:
- Marriage as a form of security (emotional in our case and not so much economic) should be equally available to all.
- Financial support for gay couples, if necessary (Family Allowances)
- Reform of Death Duty and Inheritance Rights for gay couples, to bring it in line with that for the straights.
- Reduction of age of consent to that for straights.
Their argument is that the acceptance of gay marriages will help us to feel stronger and more secure in ourselves.
Right on RFSL. Move over CHE.
Where It’s At In Scandinavia
For those of you heading north this winter, or even next summer, we’ve compiled a list of clubs, bars and organisations that might make life and love easier for the tourist on the look for a gay night out. But be prepared, those Scandinavians aren’t only famous for their blue eyes and blonde hair!
For general help and information, write or contact: RFSL, Box 850, 10132 Stockholm 1, Sweden. The office is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 7pm and 9pm, and the telephone number is 08/153001.
Clubs where you could expect to find sympathetic company include:
Stockholm – Club Timmy, Timmermansgatan 24nb, 11649 Stockholm. The telephone no. is 08/848030 and they’re closed during the summer.
Club Albert, Timmermansgatan 24. Tel. 08/848030 open Tuesdays in summer. Gothenberg — Friends Club, 400 14 Gothenberg.
Malmo — Club Max, Ostra Farmvagen 21c. Every night 9.30 to midnight. Dancing.
Gay House, Per Weijersgatan 8. Tel. 1 17850. Daily from 4pm.
Copenhagen – Pan Club, Nybrogade 28. Tel. 01/143917. 9pm till 2am every night but Monday.
The Norwegian equivalent to CHE is Norske Forbundet AV 1948, and you can write to them at Postbox 1305, Vika, Oslo 1. Tel. Oslo 271003.
Oslo — Gay dances are held every Wednesday and Sunday at the Venstres Hus, Mollergaten 16, Oslo.