We have a new assault on free speech in Europe. Tonje Gjevjon, a lesbian filmmaker and actress, is now facing up to three years in prison. Her crime? Saying on Facebook that a man cannot become a lesbian.
Gjevjon was put under investigation for making the comments about Norwegian activist Christine Jentoft, a transgender female that often refers to herself as a lesbian mother. On Facebook Gjevjon wrote “It’s just as impossible for men to become a lesbian as it is for men to become pregnant. Men are men regardless of their sexual fetishes.”
This is obviously protected speech in the United States. However, in many countries, it is not a criminal offense to express an opposing view on gender identity.
Jeftoft has previously brought criminal charges against those who questioned his sexual identification.
Free speech in Norway and much of Europe is in a free fall. In 2020, the country amended its penal code that added “gender identity and gender expression” as protected categories from hate speech.
Those expressing contrary views can face up to three years in jail. Not only does the law criminalize public comments, but you can receive a year in jail even for comments made in private.
The impact of these laws was evident in a recent poll of German citizens. Only 18% of Germans feel free to express their opinions in public. 59% of Germans did not even feel free expressing themselves in private among friends. And just 17% felt free to express themselves on the Internet.
We have been discussing the ongoing controversies — and prosecutions — over what are called Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs). The term is used for feminists who have voiced opposition to transgender policies and laws that they believe “erase” or “marginalize” biological women. The most famous such figure is author J.K. Rowling who has not only been the subject of a global cancel campaign but was recently listed by Buzzfeed with figures like cult leader Jim Jones, Benedict Arnold and O.J. Simpson as “villains.”
In 2019, we discussed the prosecution of Finnish Member of Parliament Päivi Räsänen. She was critical of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland for its support of the Helsinki LGBT Pride events in June. She spoke out against the involvement while highlighting a quote from Romans 1:24-27 which reads:
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.
27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
In March, both were acquitted of all charges in their cases.
Norway is a vivid example of how this movement to criminalize speech is continuing. The left has embraced censorship and criminalization to silence those with opposing views, even views based on religious values. It is a movement that continues to gain support in the United States. However, citizens need only to look to Europe to see what awaits us if we continue on this course.
It is no accident that, when Elon Musk bought Twitter, figures like Hillary Clinton turned to Europe to censor the views of fellow Americans. The anti-free speech movement has taken hold of the European Union.
The Gjevjon case is only the latest skirmish in this existential struggle for free speech in the West.