Oslo shooting highlight homophobia and intolerance in ‘progressive’ societies
Two people were killed and 14 wounded, some seriously injured, in a shooting near a bar area in an LGBTI venue in the capital, Oslo of Norway, on the night between Friday and Saturday. The police have arrested the alleged attacker near the scene and all events related to the pride parade, Oslo Pride, have been cancelled.
The attacker, who was arrested near the scene of the shooting, is a citizen with a Norwegian passport and of Iranian origin, known to the police for minor crimes and against whom charges have now been filed for murder, attempted murder and terrorist act, The head of the investigation, Christian Hatlo, specified at a press conference. In a later statement, the attack was defined as ‘an act of Islamist terrorism.’ The detainee ‘has a long history of violence and threats’ and the intelligence service had him on its radar ‘since 2015 due to concerns regarding his radicalization’ and his membership ‘in an Islamist network,’ said the head of the intelligence services, Roger Berg.
The gay pride parade scheduled for this Saturday afternoon has been cancelled, as well as all events related to Oslo Pride on the recommendation of the police to avoid further threats. ‘Soon we will be proud and visible again, but today we will celebrate and share Pride celebrations from home,’ added Inger Kristin Haugsevje, head of Oslo Pride, and Inge Alexander Gjestvang, leader of FRI, Association for Gender Diversity and Sexuality.
King Harald has signalled that the royal family is devastated by the attack. ‘We must remain united and defend our values: freedom, diversity and respect for each other,’ added the monarch.
Security authorities raised the country’s terrorist threat assessment to its highest level after the attack. Norwegian police, who are normally unarmed, will carry weapons until further notice as a precaution, national chief Benedicte Bjoernland said.
King Harald of Norway said he and the royal family were devastated by the attack, which police said also left 10 people seriously injured and 11 slightly injured. ‘We must unite and defend our values: freedom, diversity and mutual respect,’ added the 85-year-old monarch.
The shooting took place just months after Norway marked 50 years since abolishing a law criminalizing gay sex. The Nordic nation of 5.4 million has lower crime rates than many Western countries, though it has experienced hate-motivated shootings, including when far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in 2011.
Even in the most progressive countries like Norway Attacks on LGBT are still happening, In the past few weeks, A spate of attacks are directed against people perceived as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Over the years in 17 countries in Europe and Central Asia have verbally attacked LGBT people.
Many European countries have witnessed a greater recognition of LGBT people in society in the context of broader social, cultural and legal changes. This does not mean that the current generation of LGBT people has lived through a historical period of intense homophobia in which hiding their sexual identity was necessary to protect themselves.
Western Europe, with its relatively low levels of religious belief, has been at the forefront of legalizing same-sex marriage. Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Spain and Sweden were among the first countries to do so.
European nation-states increasingly hail LGBT identities as part of modern values; LGBT awards have become a symbol of secular achievement. Discourses on the rights of homosexuals and sexual diversity are increasingly opposed to the ‘others’ presumably homophobic and intolerant.
An increasingly intolerant and repressive attitude towards immigrants and racialized minorities is justified by its supposed threat to exactly these values. LGBT tolerance is used as a marker of modern values and this positions LGBT people as ‘border patrollers’ who can count as part of the modern liberal nation.
The advent of same-sex marriage alone does not end the discrimination that LGBT people may face on a daily basis. For a long time, LGBT people have been considered the ‘other’, as the status of heterosexuality is the default setting for sexuality in heteronormative society with its ‘authoritative construction of norms that privilege heterosexuality’.
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