Get to know the people who inspire us 🏳️🌈
The fight for equal rights, is far from over.
We will continue to make our statement, supporting this fight through consistent commitment and strategy.
We will use this moment to share some thoughts around the importance of Pride, through people who inspire us, enlighten us – and educates us further.
We hope you enjoy reading the first part of BRGNs interview series about the importance of Pride.
Pride for me, is about a lot. About visibility, activism and solidarity. But also, about being able to walk into Pride Park and know that I am in a "safe space." That I dare to keep my eyes of a handsome guy, without being afraid of getting beat up.
It has taken some time for me to accept that many people see me as a flag bearer and role model. I started with a desire to be a comedian/artist, but gradually it has become naturally for me to carry the flag high. Because I am proud of it. When I travel around Norway and abroad, I always check out gay-friendly hotels and bars. Because I feel safest there.
Growing up, it was Tina Turner. She seemed like she had gone through tough times and came victorious out of it. This showed me hope. Lights in the tunnel. That I also could make it, if I did not give up and had faith in myself. In adulthood, there are people like Billy Porter which has inspired me to be proud of both the feminine and the masculine side of myself. And Kim Friele, of course, inspiring me to dare to take the fight.
It's important because my rights are not an innate privilege. But they've been given to me after a fight. They've been fought over and might as quickly be taken away from me.
I think people are better at being open. And we all love that we're so much better now. Yet hatred is growing in Europe. The rights of queers are declining, being seen as an ideology and threat. Right outside our door, Gay-free municipalities and camps is being established. I do not take my freedom in Norway for granted.
This was when I dared to attend the parade myself, when I was 19 years old. There I felt the unity, belonging, love and lust for battle.
Are you not sure about something? Ask! Use dialogue with an urge and desire to find acceptance and to widen your understanding, not to reinforce fear.
Pride for me is like birthday, Christmas and New Year all at the same time. Only, it lasts for a whole month. I love the celebration, but first and foremost it is the rebellion that IS Pride. I think it is easy to forget the ones that have battled for us to be able to get where we are today. As a queer person, it is of Pride all year round, but in June it is extra clear and visible. The biggest day is the parade day itself, however I always have an internal struggle because I both want to attend the parade and watch it from the outside.
Personally, I have never really "come out" or had any problems around being queer. I have been lucky always being a part of a queer environment that made it easier to be my true self. After SO, Oslo's only nightclub for queer women was shut down there was a strange vacuum. Because of this a good friend and I started the club concept, Girls Club. It was a club concept for queer girls, non-binary, trans and other cuties. It was touching to see how many people who had missed something like this. Unfortunately, because of tight schedules, we don't have time for this anymore, but it is fantastic to know that we have contributed, at least a little bit, to the queer community.
I think it must be Kim Friele. She has always been such a clear fighter for queer rights and a true icon. I remember, one of the first years I went to the Pride parade in Oslo, she stood there and watched and waved her flag for everyone who walked by. It was a touching and big moment. Another big event in life, also during Pride, was when I met and fell in love with the woman who is now my wife.
In Norway we may have come a long way, but there is still a frightening amount of people who experience discrimination, based on who they love and who they are. We must never stop fighting for fundamental rights, both here in Norway and internationally.
I feel that people have become more open, inquisitive and inclusive. However, this is an easy thing for me to say. I have been lucky and have never experienced discriminated based on who I love and have been a part of a very open and accepting environment. Unfortunately, there are many who have experienced- and even experience this daily. We must continue to fight, and everyone should be involved. One example, is that trans people are losing their treatment options. It's so sad and frustrating.
I think of discrimination as unfairly different treatment, and it occurs both directly and more indirectly. It is a big question, but I think what most people can do to make a change is to educate themselves, take part in discussions and let minority voices in society be heard. Join Pride, as an ally, but remember, this is not just about the party.
Pride for me is a celebration of love and acceptance. I think the beautiful thing with pride, is that it means something different to everyone involved. For me it is knowing that there are so many people who are participating and showing love and support for people like me and that makes me feel rather special. I also try to take a moment to imagine how different things must have been not that many years ago, and how lucky we are to have it the way it is today.
I grew up in South Africa and Australia and then moved to Norway in my early 20’s. All three countries had protective laws and awareness for LGBTQ+ individuals. So, I have been extremely lucky in that regard. I think it is important to recognize the fact that it is due to the hard work those before us have done, and that we should continue to do today. To be honest, I am still trying to navigate and find my place in the pride environment and in my community. I have been very fortunate to have a good support system consisting of friends and family around me in my life. However, just knowing that there is a community there that has my back, offers a sense of security and comfort. I am very happy that it exists for those that might not have a good support system around them.
As cliche as it might sound, my partner of 10 years has- and continues to be, a big inspiration to me. He has helped me to accept who I am, he taught me that there is not any mould I have to fit, and that being different is not bad and should be celebrated. I admire his confidence and I am grateful to be able share my life with someone so supportive.
Daily we are reminded of just how important it is to keep fighting for equality in general. In 2022 we have seen attempts on equality laws being reversed, people not having the right to make decisions about their own body and people being imprisoned or worse for who they love. As important as it is to celebrate the progress, it is even more important to continue the hard work. I contribute through discussing these topics with friends, family and others, as well as continuously educating and orientating myself on these issues. I aim to do more, and I think we should all have that as a goal.
Oh yes, for sure! At least for me in my immediate surroundings and living in Norway. I think people have become better at not making assumptions about sexual orientation. In small everyday ways, such as there being less pause when correcting people on having a spouse of the same gender, whether that be the insurance company over the phone or the hairdresser making small talk. Pride has also changed a lot, there is a lot more participation from family members, friends and allies with no immediate connection to the community who just want to show support. And isn’t that lovely?!
The first thing that comes to mind, is from a few years ago. I was reading an article in the newspaper about a 17-year-old girl in Oslo encouraging people to participate in Pride, whether they belong to the community or not, and to walk in the parade for those who do not dare to walk for themselves. I thought it was so brave and beautiful, but also funny that a 17-year-old shows more courage and wisdom than many adults.
I interpret the word discrimination, as any unjust or prejudicial behavior that makes someone feel like they are smaller or lesser than the rest of society. Time is up for ignorance or turning a blind eye. Educate yourself on discrimination, diversity and equality. Change starts in your immediate surroundings. Correct your friends and family when hearing something inappropriate. Speak up for the stranger being hassled on the street. Check in on your friend or colleague when you notice they are going through a difficult time.
For me, Pride is first and foremost necessary. It is a celebration of all queer people, but Pride has also always been about the fight to make queer people more visible and to be normalized in today’s society. Many think that Pride is no longer necessary, because we live in Norway and queer people are more accepted here, but we still have a long way to go. There’s still a lot of stigma around queer people internationally, but also in Norway.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in Oslo, where I participated in my first Pride at 15 years old. This made me want to become more familiar with queer history, both nationally and internationally. This made me find more acceptance with my sexuality, and it also made want to partake in the fight for equal rights and the normalization of being queer.
It may be a bit of a cliché, but the person who has inspired me the most is my mom. She has always been there for me and told me that I could be whoever I wanted to be. She didn’t choose the easier path, considering the fact that she was a white Norwegian woman with four black children. All that considered, she has always fought for us and with us to make our lives more comfortable.
Queer people are still not equal in our society, especially if we look at the social aspect. Being queer is still viewed as a sickness or a crime in many countries. There is also more stigma around being queer and intersectional in Norway, than being ethnic Norwegian and queer. That’s why I’m trying to do my best to highlight the fact that it is perfectly okay and normal to be queer with a minority background.
In recent years, there has been some positive changes around the topic of being queer. We are becoming more visible in the media, which causes more people to consider it as normal. More people find it safer to be open about being queer and a lot of queer people don’t necessarily feel the need to "come out" anymore. I recently had a conversation with my 9-year-old sister. She couldn’t understand why some parents found it hard to accept that their children were queer. That made me realize that we’ve come a long way.
The most special moment for me, was when I attended my first Vogue Ball during Pride in 2017. That is what started my ballroom journey. I took my first vogue class in January of 2018 and was quickly taken in by the Norwegian ballroom scene. Eventually I started participating in Vogue balls and now I have walked balls in Paris, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Helsinki. I even took a trip to New York to learn more from the people who originated ballroom culture.
Discrimination to me, is unreasonable treatment of people based on prejudice and things like gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disabilities, etc. There’s a lot we can do to become a more equal society, but first and foremost; meet all new people with an open mind. This can take us a long way socially.
All profits from Pride- and Love Caps goes to FRI: The association of gender and sexuality diversity. FRI works for equality and against discrimination of people who violate norms for gener and sexuality in Norway and the rest of the world.