Everyone is to have equal rights, irrespective of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons must be able to live openly and Norwegian authorities are making efforts to prevent discrimination.
LGBTI stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex. The acronym LGBTI is used by a number of international organisations such as the UN, Council of Europe and the EU.
The government's goal is to strengthen the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and combat discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
The attitudes of the population and living conditions of LGBT persons are changing over time and in a positive direction, but new research has shown that there is still a need for targeted and systematic efforts in this field.
The authorities are to lay the foundation for the further work together with the LGBT organisations and the LGBT Centre in the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs.
The Act relating to the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, more commonly known as the Equality and Anti-Discrimination act, entered into force on 1 January 2014.
This Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression and the prohibition applies to all areas of society apart from family life and the private sphere.
The Common Marriage Act entered into force on 1 January 2009
This Act gives all lesbian and gay persons the right to enter into marriage irrespective of sexual orientation. The Church of Norway and other faiths are authorised, but not obliged, to perform marriage ceremonies.
Life situation of Norwegian LGBT persons
Since the early 2000s, we have gradually gained a better basis of research for devising what is now called LGBTI policy. Particularly in recent years, we have gained more knowledge about the situation of the Norwegian LGBT population.
The creation in 2011 of the Children, Youth and Family Affairs Directorate's (Bufdir) LGBT Knowledge Centre has improved the capacity to collect, systematise and disseminate knowledge about the life situation of Norwegian LGBT persons. Recent studies show a gradually increasing acceptance towards LGBT persons over time, while at the same time the image of the living conditions of LGBT groups is complex. Reports have shown that transgender persons without the diagnosis of transsexualism, experience a lack of health services, and face intolerance, discrimination and harassment in numerous social arena, and that in particular, bisexual women have significant health challenges.
Several qualitative studies that have been conducted in recent years have provided important new insights into the situation among different groups within the LGBT field. LGBT persons from different ethnic/religious backgrounds often face challenges within their own families, while residing at an asylum centre, and at public venues, such as clubs and restaurants. A report from 2015 confirmed that it can be difficult to live as a LGBT person in smaller locations and that youth can be particularly challenging.
Promoting human rights for LGBT persons internationally
Norway is a staunch defender of human rights, including the rights of LGBTI people. It is important to cooperate with other countries and organisations to ensure that everyone’s human rights are respected, with no exception for LGBTI people.
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has developed the guidelines “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”, to strengthen the Norwegian Foreign Service’s work to promote and protect the rights of sexual and gender minorities internationally.
Read more at The Ministry of Culture's website.