By Jonathon Turley
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.”