Reflections on being LGBQT+ in Norway
- Posted on June 22, 2022
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Sadly, less than three days after the publication of this article, an armed terrorist assaulted an LGBT+ club in Oslo. We are all mourning this tragedy, and Steven has written a follow-up article. In that article, he examines the events and response and reflects on what that means for LGBT+ safety in Norway.
I arrived as a queer-identified American immigrant here in Norway almost three years ago. Although that is a story of its own, the contrast of life for LGBT+ people anywhere in the U.S. and in the Nordics is extremely different. That striking difference is an example of the importance country and culture has on LGBT+ experience around the world. As Pride celebrations take place this month, I have been reflecting on the difference of what it is like to live in completely different countries.
The U.S. has no one culture or set of laws. My part of the U.S. was always California, and so compared to much of the country, it was a relatively positive experience. But nonetheless, while I was in college, I began to realize that even in California, I was at risk of violence at some time in my life. Even into the 1990s, San Francisco´s LGBT+ community passed out whistles for safety, so that someone could help you if you were attacked.
Now, I am so proud and happy to be living in Norway and being LGBT+ is so different here. No one needs to hand out whistles to prevent gay bashing. At no time have I felt threatened for my physical safety or seen threats to others for being LGBT+ here in Norway. A spirit of kindness to one another is everywhere.
Being gay means inherently being a minority, pretty much anywhere you go. Whereas heterosexuals can assume most people they meet are like them, LGBT+ people cannot make that assumption. It is heartening to see and know other LGBT+ people work with me also—not just allies.
In my first week at Avanade, at my onboarding orientation, I learned about our principles – everyone counts, innovate with passion and purpose, and act with integrity and respect – and these spoke to me. And underscoring that with diversity goals of increasing representation, limitless learning, and engagement shows me that at Avanade, we seek to value the diverse experience we all bring to the table. As a member of the LGBT+ minority, I feel at Avanade, my unique insights and experience are clearly valued. I am even more pleased to be working with our teams when such affirming values are taught to everyone who joins!
Happy Pride everybody!