I heard a story on American radio this morning I found hard to believe, then I saw the same story referenced on an American news aggregator, so I sniffed around the usual Danish news sites to see how the story was being covered here.
Short answer: it wasn’t.
I’m therefore going to lean heavily on the feminist news site Reduxx to share a story that isn’t making the headlines it should in Denmark—or much of anywhere.
I’d never heard of Reduxx until today: it bills itself as “a truly pro-woman, pro-child safeguarding platform” that was established in January of this year. Their “about” page boasts that they’re “proud to take style guidance from Women’s Liberation Front and Lesbians United,” so make of that what you will.
Probably they’re what the charming language police of the left would call TERFs—Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists.
Here’s their headline:
“Men Are Men”: Norwegian Artist Facing Criminal Charges, Potential Prison Sentence Over Gender Comments
Before we get into it I should mention that in the anglosphere the story is being covered by Fox News:
Norwegian filmmaker faces up to 3 years in prison for saying men cannot be lesbians
And the New York Post:
Norwegian actress Tonje Gjevjon faces up to 3 years in prison for saying men cannot be lesbians
I’m going to stick to the reporting from Reduxx on the (probably mistaken) assumption that a lengthy article written by feminists and lesbians will won’t be written off as a right-wing smear campaign of some sort.
Also, their headline is a little less hysterical.
And yet another note: so far as I can tell, the story isn’t being covered by leftist media in America or by any media in Denmark. I find that troubling but unsurprising. The left used to champion free speech, and here’s a woman in a western country—not just a woman, but a celebrated artist and lesbian activist—who’s under investigation and facing possible jail time for an opinion she posted on Twitter.
Here is the exact text of the tweet that launched the criminal investigation:
It’s just as impossible for men to become lesbian as it is for men to become pregnant. Men are men regardless of their sexual fetishes.
Let’s break it down into its parts: she’s saying (1) men can’t be lesbians, (2) men can’t get pregnant, and (3) men are men regardless of their sexual fetishes. Those are her three assertions. She’s also implying, or could at least be interpreted as having implied, that (4) it’s a sexual fetish for a man to claim he’s a lesbian, or that he’s pregnant.
Norway says: that’s hate speech and possibly a crime.
Go home Norway, you’re drunk.
Statements one, two, and three are tautological. They cannot be logically contradicted.
I therefore suspect it’s the fourth item, the implication, that has landed Ms. Gjevjon in hot water with the Norwegian authorities.
It’s not clear to me that it’s a “sexual fetish” for a man to believe he’s actually a woman who’s attracted to other women, or for a man to claim he is or could be pregnant. So let’s go ahead and assume it’s actually false. We don’t have to figure out what’s driving such men, only to assume that it’s not a sexual fetish.
Is calling something that isn’t a sexual fetish—
See what’s happening?
The lunatics and maniacs have sucked me down into their rabbit hole.
The question isn’t whether anything is a sexual fetish. The question isn’t even whether men can be women or girls can be boys.
The question is whether people are free to hold and state their opinions, whatever they may be.
The answer in a free society has to be an unequivocal yes. Any other answer means the society is not free.
Men are frogs and women are hyacinths.
That’s what I believe. That’s what I say.
Or maybe men are hyacinths and women are frogs and guacamole is architecture and how are you Wilson.
It doesn’t matter. My freedom to say these things is vastly more important than any particular thing I may choose to say.
I will absolutely defend the right of women to call themselves men, and of men to call themselves lesbians. I’ll defend people’s right to praise Hitler or Stalin or Mao or Putin or Xi, to say the earth is flat or the moon is made of cheese. I don’t have to agree with someone to support their right to say it. Go ahead and say that Jews are greedy, or the Irish are drunkards, or the coloreds are lazy, or women belong in the kitchen. Be as gross and bigoted and judgmental as you want. You have my blessing. It’s your birthright.
Just as it’s my right to dislike you, even despise you, for your opinions. I can call you crazy, or say you’re a moron, a jerk, or a sociopath. It’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it, just as you’re entitled to yours.
If you’re working to set limits on what people can and cannot say, then you’re working against freedom. Period.
And, might I add, duh.
It therefore appears that Norway is not a free country.
Here’s Reduxx (emphasis mine):
Gjevjon particularly singled-out (sic) the actions of prominent Norwegian trans activist, Christine Jentoft—a man who claims to be a lesbian mother, and who currently serves as a representative for the nation’s leading trans activist group, Foreningen FRI.
Jentoft has been at the center of a clash between women’s rights activists and Norway’s hate speech legislation, which was revised in 2020. The amendments, which went into effect last year, included the category of “gender identity or gender expression”—a move women’s rights campaigners in the nation warned would result in a chill over free speech, especially where it related to the reality of biological sex.
Sounds like the warning was pretty spot on.
Earlier this year, Jentoft filed criminal charges against Christina Ellingsen, a representative of Women’s Declaration International (WDI) Norway, for stating that men can neither be lesbians nor mothers. As reported by Reduxx in May, a police investigation was launched into Ellingsen’s alleged “transphobia,” and, like Gjevjon, she is facing up to three years in prison if found guilty.
A criminal investigation into transphobia?
Jentoft has every right to call himself or herself or itself a woman, a lesbian, a mother. Ellingsen ought to have every right to say that men can’t be lesbians or mothers. Or that they can be. Or that they both can and cannot be.
To the extent there really is any such thing as transphobia, how on earth can it be illegal? We don’t investigate racism, anti-semitism, or misogyny as actual crimes.
Why the special treatment for transphobia?
There are too many Jentofts out there and they’ve got way too much power.
It’s not funny or cute. It’s not a joke. It’s not something to roll your eyes over and chuckle about.
If you can’t say a man is not a woman, then a boot is stomping on your face.
A fabulous boot, I’m sure—ooh, are those rhinestones?—but a boot just the same.
According to a Norwegian government website, in a text updated just a few weeks ago (my emphases):
No one should be subjected to violence, hate or trolling on the basis of their faith, skin colour, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression etc. Hate speech and cyberhate can have serious consequences for individuals, groups and society as a whole.
Freedom of speech is an inalienable value, and one that is well established in Norway. However, speech that spreads hatred towards other people must not be tolerated. Some speech is prohibited under Norwegian law and is subject to prosecution.
Freedom of speech is an inalienable value but some speech is prohibited and can be prosecuted as a crime. In fact, trolling on the basis of a mere et cetera is now a crime.
It’s beyond Orwellian.
“Two plus two equals four, except when it equals five.”
“How do I know when it’s four and when it’s five?”
“We’ll tell you.”
A lesbian with a penis? A mother without a uterus?
The lunatics pushing that insanity on the rest of us deserve to be called out for their lunacy. Hatred has nothing to do with it.
If you click through to the Reduxx article there’s a lot about Anette Trettebergstuen, Norway’s current Minister for Culture and Equality and “the only openly lesbian member (of) Norway’s parliament.” She may be a lesbian, but she’s insufficiently protective of women for the “truly pro-woman” crowd.
The article includes a 2021 video about a video in which Trettebergstuen apparently played a role (while in her current role as Minister). I don’t want to link to or embed it here because I’ve never seen the original video being criticized so I don’t know whether the criticisms are legitimate. I’m also a little squeamish with some of the content, which is ironically enough NSFW even though it features a government minister. Maybe it’s all propaganda. The video it purports to be criticizing is so disgusting that I actually hope its scenes have been taken out of context and are being misrepresented. But It’s hard to imagine a context in which many of the shared scenes would not be considered grotesque.
(It was apparently launched into the world as a parody, but it’s hard to understand what it’s parodying.)
The race to the bottom seems to be accellerating so quickly it’s hard to keep up. We’ve gone from “defining deviance down,” in Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s phrasing, to celebrating deviance—and thence to the current state-enforced celebration of deviance.
And it’s not just Norway: back in July, America was represented at the French Embassy’s celebration of Bastille Day by trans-woman Rachel Levine (woman of the year!) and non-binary, cross-dressing kleptomaniac Sam Brinton. Read all about it.
A whole government full of secretaries, undersecretaries, and assistant deputy undersecretaries to choose from, and the Biden administration sends those two maladjusted clowns.
Harder, dammit—cheer harder!
I can’t hear your applause, people—let’s dial it up out there!
And don’t think we aren’t making a list of who isn’t clapping!