|SC||Variations of sex characteristics|
|GR1||Legal gender recognition without self-determination|
|GR2||Legal gender recognition with self-determination (over 16)|
|GR3||Legal gender recognition with self-determination (under 16)|
|FPN||LGBTI focal points network|
|CA||Ministerial call to action|
In January 2018, a new comprehensive Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act (2018) came into force. With this new framework, the Gender Equality Act (2007), the Ethnic Discrimination Act, the Discrimination and Accessibility Act and the Sexual Orientation Anti-Discrimination Act (2013) are replaced by one comprehensive act. The new act is applicable within education and is also aimed to promote equality irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, and to address discrimination on these grounds. Age is also included as a discrimination ground. The act prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual, assumed, former or future gender, pregnancy, leave in connection with childbirth or adoption, care responsibilities, ethnicity, religion, belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age or combinations of these factors is prohibited, and the prohibition also applies if a person is discriminated against on the basis of their connection with another person.
The Action Plan for Improving the Quality of Life among LGBT (2008), established school, education and health as focus areas. In 2011, an LGBT Knowledge Centre was set up as part of the plan, with the aim to inform civil servants in regional and local authorities in order for them to have a better knowledge about the challenges LGBTI individuals may face in everyday life.
In June 2016, the Norwegian Government launched a new cross-ministerial LGBTI action plan, entitled Safety, diversity, openness – The Norwegian Government’s action plan against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression (2017-2020). The plan focuses on safe social arenas and public space, equal access to public services, improving quality of life among vulnerable groups. According to this plan, several measures are to take place in the educational sector.
So far, there has been a public consultation for a bill stating there will be a zero tolerance stance against all forms of bullying, violence, discrimination, harassment and other offences – regardless of the grounds of discrimination or harassment, be it gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation or otherwise. It also states that LGBTI children and adolescents may experience challenges in a variety of areas, including school, leisure activities, health services, child and family counselling. All services must have a basic knowledge of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, as well as some specialists offering and developing services with a particular focus on the challenges of LGBTI persons.
The Government has expressed that they wish to continue Norway’s LGBTI-related efforts at European and international level, and to maintain a positive relationship with the LGBTI civil society actors in the years to come. Nine ministries are responsible for the implementation. The action plan includes, for the first time, measures concerning intersex persons in Norway.
According to the Action Plan for Improving the Quality of Life among LGBT (2008), curricula on sexual orientation and gender identity must be addressed. The current action plan Safety, diversity, openness (2016) focuses on the topic of an inclusive and safe psychosocial environment in schools when it comes to LGBTI children and youth.
Several pieces of research, however, show that “sexual orientation is included in very selective ways when science textbooks deal with sex education. LGBTQI civil society organisations have stated that Norwegian textbooks conceptualise non-heterosexuals as ‘the other’, even though the current national curriculum represents inclusive intentions”.
According to the Action Plan for Improving the Quality of Life among LGBT (2008), equal opportunities and gender issues shall be part of the university curriculum for teacher training. Sexual orientation was to be one of the topics for grades 1 to 4; by grade 4 at the latest, students were to be exposed to the concept of families with same-gender parents. Terminology was changed and new teaching material on sexual relationships was prepared.
The Legal Gender Amendment Act (2016) introduced self-determination measures for legal gender recognition in Norway. No sterilisation, diagnosis, or medical treatments are required and the right to amend legal gender also applies if someone wants to change back to their previous legal gender. There is no set limit on the number of times one can change legal gender. Neither is there a proposed requirement of a latency period before one can revert back to the previous gender.
This procedure is open to persons who are over 16 years of age. Children aged 6 to 16, however, can have their gender legally recognised with the permission of both parents. If both parents have the custody of the child and one of them does not want to apply, the legal gender may still be amended if this is in the best interest of the child. The County Governor will in such cases assess what is in the best interest of the child, according to factors such as their age, maturity or gender expression.
There is a national monitoring system that monitors bullying and violence in education: the Student Survey (“Elevundersøkelsen”).This includes a question for students from 10th grade and first year of high school, on the topic of bullying and harassment in relation to sexual orientation. The question is optional, and it is up to the schools and school owners, to decide if the question will be a part of the survey.
The Ungdata-survey is a cross-national data collection scheme at the municipal level. This survey covers various aspects of young people’s lives and it has an optional question about learners’ sexual orientation. The question is optional, and it is up to the schools and school owners to decide if it will be a part of the survey. Although some municipalities use this addition, the research institution (UngData/NOVA) does not know how many municipalities include it. Thus, local statistic exists, but the government have no national statistics that measure bullying and harassment related to sexual orientation.
Helplines and chat services are available throughout the country. The Department of Children, Youth and Family Affairs also offers online support for young people through a website. All students have access to a school nurse, however their level of knowledge on LGBTQI youth issues might vary from school to school.
Skeiv Ungdom, funded by the government, offers the helpline Ungdomstelefonen to answer questions about sexuality, gender and identity (by phone, chat or message). This service is led by young adults who have experienced similar situations.
The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs has developed a website with specific information for LGBTI youth. Civil society organisations, funded by the government, provide information for LGBTQI learners and guidance for the education sector on how to address bullying and harassment against LGBTQI students. The school project Restart, for instance, is an initiative where members of Skeiv Ungdom meet students and talk about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Through a mix of lectures, discussions and exercises the organisation explores and challenge norms and expectations from students.
The government provides financial support to LGBTQI civil society organisations working in the area of education.
– Norway has signed the Call for Action by Ministers – Inclusive and equitable education for all learners in an environment free from discrimination and violence.
– Norway is member of the European Governmental LGBTI Focal Points Network.
Pink competency – school
The project Rosa kompetanse (Pink competency) is run by the Norwegian organisation for gender and sexual diversity (FRI) and financed by the Department of Education and the Department of Health. The project has given courses to teachers (and pre-service teachers) since 2011. It offers knowledge-based courses relevant to the school setting, given by people with a school background. It talks about gender identity, norms, sexual orientation and varied types of families, in accordance with the curriculum. The project also cooperates with Skeiv Ungdom, so that at some schools, Pink competency gives courses to teachers while Skeiv Ungdom educates the students.