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Innlegg på arrangementet "Diplomater i Oslo støtter Pride"

Utenriksministerens innlegg på arrangementet «Diplomater i Oslo støtter Pride».

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Colleagues from the diplomatic community,

June is the most beautiful time of the year here in Oslo, and yes – I am of course talking about the fact that Oslo Pride is on.

On 22 June, at least a quarter of a million people will show their solidarity by joining the Oslo Pride Parade.

Leading up to the parade, we can look forward to a week of celebrations dedicated to diversity, equality and human rights.

In less than two generations, the law, and general attitudes towards sexual and gender minorities, have changed rapidly and dramatically – in a positive direction – in Norway.

Behind this revolution are people like you.
An active and persistent civil society, and people who know too well what it means to be vulnerable to intolerance and discrimination.

Human rights is at the heart of Norwegian foreign policy. This includes a firm commitment to the rights of gender- and sexual minorities.

Our support is financial, but most importantly – Norway has a consistent and long-term effort to call for international recognition of equal rights, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

You, the LGBTIQ-organisations, are the experts. And all Norwegian efforts have in common that they are implemented in close cooperation with you.

This is critical not only to make sure that what we do is meaningful and effective, but also to avoid doing harm.

Decades of cooperation, on many continents, has taught us how to best promote and protect the human rights of sexual and gender minorities. We are grateful for the opportunity to work, and learn, together with you.
The starting point has to be support to self-organisation and movement building: The opportunity to come together - in safe spaces - share experience, and develop an agenda for change.

Despite progress, we know that homophobic attitudes still exist in all societies. Discrimination and violence against sexual and gender minorities are widespread.

But, because of tireless efforts from thousands of LGBTIQ-human rights defenders, activists and organisations around the world, there has been considerable progress over the recent years.

The decision by the Indian Supreme Court regarding decriminalisation is a milestone. Earlier this week equally historic decisions was made both by Botswana’s high court and the National Assembly of Bhutan.
And the latest in a series of very good news: Yesterday Ecuador's highest court authorised same-sex marriage.

In sum, these developments bring us closer to our goal of ending criminalisation based on sexual orientation and gender identity worldwide.
Congratulations to Botswana, Bhutan and Ecuador for standing up for human rights by taking a stand against criminalisation of LGBTIQ-persons.

Lately - and this is a bit of coincidence - penguins have been recurring theme in speeches and other work.

I will not go through all my previous penguin talking points, but in brief, penguins are victims of climate change, melting polar ice and diminishing biodiversity.

Penguins huddle together against external threats -a bit like a certain defence alliance.

This reminded me of an especially heart-warming story that was in the news last autumn: The same-sex penguin couple of Sydney Zoo, Sphen and Magic, fostered an egg from another penguin couple – resulting in a little penguin baby.

The nest they built was bigger than any other couple, they took turns incubating, and were praised by staff at the zoo as model parents.

The story shows that among penguins, when it comes to showing love, being a parent and creating a family, gender and sexual orientations is not a defining factor.

When nature doesn’t discriminate, neither should we.

Because love is love. Happy Pride!

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