Showing up for love
On Saturday 22nd July I will be selling delicious american style chewy cookies from the beautiful Kompass & Co food truck at Youngstorget in Oslo. Come by, say hello, hang out, eat cookies and together we can show our support for the LGBT community.
All of the profits from this event will be donated to Skeiv Ungdom.
A while ago I saw an article in Aftenposten about a group of neo nazis that are organising a march in Fredrikstad against what they call 'the homolobby'. The Norwegian police have given them permission to march because of rules around 'free speech'.
When I read this article I was absolutely horrified. I have become increasingly worried about the recent rise in popularity of fascism back home in the UK and in the rest of Europe and it saddened me to see this in Norway too. There is of course a difference between free speech and hate speech and I feel like a group of intimidating nazis marching against being gay is definitely hateful. I thought about the negative impact this march will have on members of the LGBT community and I was so upset.
The article showed that this particular militant far right group has been organising and growing not just in Norway but all over Scandinavia. They are against immigration, and in fact want everyone who isn't of scandinavian descent to leave Scandinavia. They want to ban foreigners, foreign media and foreign businesses. They have a violent criminal history; only last year two of their members were arrested for involvement in two bombings and a bombing attempt of refugee accommodation in Gothenburg. This group of people are antisemitic, homophobic, racist criminals. It is abhorrent to think that they are allowed to spread their hate on our streets.
The nazis have cancelled their planned march on the 29th July as there has been so much press around it that they have decided to find another date. This is a victory but it doesn’t mean that they are going away. They are still organising, still growing, and still spreading fascism into our community.
Whilst I'm not gay myself, I'm very close to the LGBT community. When I was a teenager one of my friends had a very difficult experience coming out. They were afraid to be themselves, they were afraid of how they would be treated by their own family, friends and colleagues. They struggled with their fear and shame for years and the trauma and bullying they experienced sadly seems to have had a lasting effect on their life. I often think of this old friend and of all the young people today who are afraid to be open about their sexuality. I think of everyone who has ever had the word 'faggot' or 'dyke' sneered at them. I think of all of the people who are scared to hold hands or kiss their partners in the street, and everyone who stays quiet about their marriage or relationship at work. I think of the torture of gay men in Chechnya and that in some countries being gay is a unlawful and punishable with a death sentence.
There is simply no excuse for homophobia or transphobia. It's completely unfair that LGBT people are made to experience such hate and discrimination and it's up to all of us to show them that we stand with them and that they are supported in their choice to love who they love, and be who they are.
Skeiv Ungdom is a youth organization for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, queer and others who fall outside hetero normative or traditional gender roles. They work to improve equal legal rights for the LGBT community and engage in social projects which improve the lives of queer youth across the country.
Kompass & Co
For this event we are working with the wonderful team at Kompass & Co. We will be sharing our cookie recipe with young people living in Oslo, and showing them how we make the cookies and they will be helping us sell the cookies from Kompass & Co's amazing food truck.