Saturday, May 21

Nesodden Sp wanted to arrange a webinar on gender. Then there was a commotion.

A local team withdrew in protest, and Senterungdommen in Oslo held a counter-seminar when Nesodden Sp invited to a seminar with speakers who believe there are only two genders.

The Nesodden Center Party’s webinar on gender was boycotted by several party colleagues.

– We have been very close to pressing the red button and canceling the entire event. There have been many who have tried to stop it in advance, says leader of Nesodden Sp, Paul Simmons, to Aftenposten.

There was a high temperature in some local SP teams in Oslo and Viken after the Nesodden party invited to a webinar entitled «A webinar on gender, with ground contact» Thursday night last week.

The topic of the webinar enters one of the most heated debates today: The question of whether there are more than two genders, and how gender should be defined. It is also a highly topical political issue. The government has announced that it will now investigate whether Norway should introduce a third legal gender.

Rejects more than two genders

Among those who reacted was Senterungdommen in Oslo.

– I saw that it was a very political agenda to promote the bisexual model, says county leader Dorthea Enger.

She says she responded that all the presenters stood for this view. Among them were the artist and lesbian activist Tonje Gjevjon, public debater Peter Risholm and biotechnologist Christina Ellingsen. They have all marked themselves in the public debate as sharp opponents of introducing more legal genders.

The seminar was opened by parliamentary representative for SP, Jenny Klinge, who has also been clear that she believes it is completely wrong, biologically and scientifically, to talk about the existence of other genders than females and males.

– The introductions reflect one view, and I think it is stupid that they spend a lot of time and effort going backwards instead of seeing how to develop the judicial system for ordinary people, Enger says.

In response, Senterungdommen in Oslo arranged its own counter-seminar earlier the same day with votes from the other side of the debate.

Local teams withdrew

The Center Party’s local team in Oslo Vestre Aker also reacted to the event. They originally had a unanimous board decision that they should participate as co-organizers, but chose to resign in mid-December.

– We withdrew because we did not think this was something for us to participate in. After a closer look, we decided not to attend and co-organized the meeting. We think it was counterproductive for us, says local team leader Rune Svendsen.

– What do you mean by counterproductive?

– When we went in and looked at some of the initiators, we felt that they did not stand for what we stand for in the party program on diversity, and we did not want to be involved, he says.

– One side has been pressed down a lot

Leader of Nesodden Sp, Paul Simmons, says it was one of the speakers, Tonje Gjevjon, who is also a member of Nesodden Sp, who was behind the event.

– It was a topic she is very passionate about, and we agreed that she could take that case. This does not mean that we in Nesodden Sp stand behind everything that was said. There are divided opinions about this also on Nesodden, says Simmons.

– Why were not both sides allowed to be represented in the debate?

– This was not intended as a debate, but as a political post from one side. It’s a page that has been pushed down a lot, as I see it, says Simmons.

– But does it provide an informed webinar if only one of the pages participates?

– It can be discussed, I also asked questions about that. Gjevjon said that this time she would give her opinions on the case, he says.

Tonje Gjevjon says she thinks most debates on the topic that have been arranged before, have not given room for the view she and the other speakers represent.

– Our goal was to bring out these perspectives. Then we would like to see more debates with more perspectives, says Gjevjon.

Blade: Will evaluate gender exchange law

Simmons says the local team in connection with the event has experienced a lot of pressure on them to cancel.

– I think it is a pity that it should not be allowed to talk about this at a low political level without there being hate messages and hard fronts, he says.

The Center Party’s Jenny Klinge believes that the change in the law on legal gender reassignment has not been studied well enough and has had several problematic consequences.

Parliamentary representative Jenny Klinge opened the webinar. She has been in heated debates since she criticized a proposal from a committee to make the child law terminology gender neutral.

– In this debate, people are accused of throwing trans people under the bus if they say that only women can give birth to kids, she said.

Klinge tells Aftenposten that she believes the legislative changes that came in 2016, which made it possible to change legal gender without requirements for medical treatment, must be evaluated.

– There are a number of problematic aspects that we have not discussed well enough. This applies, among other things, to who should have access to women’s wardrobes and rooms, and the consequences that a male body can participate in the women’s classes in sports. We have to problematize this, otherwise we will fail the women, says Klinge.

The Center Party has so far not taken a position on the introduction of a third legal gender. Klinge says she will await the report that comes.

– But we have only said that we will investigate it, not necessarily introduce it, she points out.

Leader of Fri – The Association for Gender and Sexuality Diversity, Inge Alexander Gjesvang reacts to Klinge’s statements.

«Trans women have existed and used women’s wardrobes and women’s toilets long before the law on changing the legal gender came into force in 2016, when the law did not affect the right to use facilities linked to one’s gender identity. This applies, for example, to the Act on Protection against Discrimination rather than the Act on the Change of Legal Gender. Previously, one had to be castrated to change the legal gender, and we are happy that this unworthy practice is no longer valid “, he writes in an e-mail to Aftenposten.

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