Norwegian parents positive to gay kids

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As Norwegian towns and cities geared up for Pride celebrations this weekend comes news that the vast majority of Norwegian parents wouldn’t get upset if their child came out as gay, lesbian or bisexual. Fully 80 percent claimed in a new survey that they’d be either positive or indifferent to their child’s homosexuality.

People were lining up this week to enter Pride Park in the center of Oslo. The Norwegian capital’s annual Pride Parade was set to begin at 1pm Saturday. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Newspaper Dagsavisen reported this week that it simply wouldn’t matter to them, according to the survey carried out by research firm Kantar TNS, if their child isn’t hetero-sexual. The nationwide survey, conducted for the organization Reform, asked 872 Norwegians about how they’d react if their own children had told them they were non-hetero.

The survey was conducted to gain insight into Norwegian attitudes towards equality, sexuality and health issues. Of those responding, 80 percent would react positively or shrug their shoulders if told their child was homosexual. 77 percent answered the same if told their child was bisexual. 61 percent said they’d be positive or indifferent to a child who came out as transgender.

“This shows that we’re on the right track,” Live Mehlum, senior adviser at Reform, told Dagsavisen. “There has been a development tied to how parents view their child’s sexuality.”

Rainbow flags, long the symbol of gay pride, were also flying around Oslo this week, like here above the University of Oslo’s downtown campus. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Mehlum said the survey results suggested that men are more skeptical than women, but they tend to be older fathers. Mothers tend to accept their children as they are to an overall higher degree.

Ask Aleksi Berglund, deputy political leader of the youth group Skeiv Ungdom, said the survey results reflect what he’s heard from many members of the organization that represents lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender people.

“This sounds realistic,” Berglund told Dagsavisen. “Most parents remain supportive. I would of course wish the percentage was even higher (than 80 percent), and that it was no problem at all to say that you like people of the same sex.”

He doesn’t think youth are unnecessarily worried, though, about adult reaction to their sexuality. “For most it goes well,” he said, “but I have also heard about parents who won’t talk to their children after they’ve come out. So I can understand that there’s still some anxiety.”

Berglund stressed that increased knowledge of and exposure to homosexuality is the most important factor in raising tolerance. “Folks have to realize that people don’t change their personality just because they fall in love with someone of their own sex,” he said.

Oslo, in line with cities all over the world, has been celebrating Pride all week, with festivities climaxing on Saturday with the annual Pride Parade through the streets of downtown. It was set to begin at 1pm near the Grønland Church, run through downtown and up Grensen and Karl Johans Gate before ending at Pride Park near the National Theater. It’s the second-largest and visible parade of the year in Oslo, after the annual Constitution Day parade on the 17th of May.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund