- I didn't know he was in bad health.

Rolf Løvaas (til venstre) og Trygve Nyrud (Foto: Jan Nordby, NRK / Privat)
Rolf Løvaas (til venstre) og Trygve Nyrud (Foto: Jan Nordby, NRK / Privat)
Listen to the complete recording of the conversation with Rolf Løvaas (subtitled). The elderly activist was weak from his illness, but nevertheless went on for an hour.

One of the most special objects in the collections of The Norwegian Queer Archive, must be this cassette. It contains a recording of one of the early gay activists in Norway explaining about his life, the start of the gay movement and the beginnings of the gay organization DNF -48.

A home visit

What makes it even more special, is the fact that Rolf Løvaas (1923-1996) died only a few weeks later.

Who was Rolf Løvaas? 

Trygve Nyrud did the interview while working for LLH, the queer organization of the day.

-       I didn´t know he was suffering a serious illness. I called him up and invited him to the office, Nyrud explains.

After reading about Løvaas, he thought the man would have lots to talk about.

-       He was a very nice and attentive man, but also very weak from the cancer he was batteling, Nyrud remembers.

Nyrud brought his casette recorder for a home visit to do the interview. Løvaas lived near the broadcastingcorporations offices, where he  had been working for many years as a journalist for a print magazine.

Last recording

-       We were in the livingroom. I had this ordinary tape recorder and a microphone. Løvaas could hardly speak. He held the microphone close to his lips, so it kind of worked.

The casette became part of the LLH archive, and has later ended up at The Norwegian Queer Archive.

In the recording we can clearly hear a man weakened by disease, but also with a will to give his version of events in the 50s.

He remembers the start of Norways first queer organization and the lack of entusiasm there about, how difficult it was to establish an account for the organization, about "the possibilities for happiness" for homosexuals in his younger years and much more.

 

They meant to meet again for a second interview, but that never happened. This recording was done March 13. Rolf Løvaas died five weeks later, on April 20.

Listen to the interview while reading English subtitles: 

Rolf Løvaas intervjuet i 1996

 

This is the interview transcribed. You may search the text, ctrl+f (PC) or cmd+f (mac), and type your search word in the searchfield that will pop up. The video is also subtitled in Norwegian and English. 

00:00:04,080 --> 00:00:06,080
Yes, we can do that ...

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... then we'll see if it works.

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What I'm wondering is ...

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The first letters I've seen are from 1949.

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I haven't read your letters, but I've read the answers from Lundahl Madsen. [Axel J. Lundahl Madsen in Copenhagen]

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How did it all start? Your contact with the Danish association? When did the idea of a Norwegian branch come about?

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It was at the beginning of 1950, I think.

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There was one I called the "forerunner" called Bjørn Hansen.

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He had been to Copenhagen and had contact with the organization there.

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He wanted to take note of who might be interested in joining a Norwegian association.

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I thought it was a very good idea.

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I thought it was in the air, in a way.

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I had seen a magazine called Der Kreis, it was published in Switzerland.

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When we got the message from Denmark that an association had been formed there,

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I thought it was really interesting.

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Very interesting.

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So, I signed up as interested in attending a statutory meeting here in Norway.

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But I have to say that

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the interest wasn't very unison.

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There were a lot of sceptics.

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Many people saw it as ridiculous to think that we could get better living conditions for gays

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by going through an organization.
Creating a union and so on.

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But I've written about that.

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The slow start.

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But at least there was a circle of interested people.

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And we got "birth support" from Denmark.

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We started off, let's say at zero.

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The worst thing was the taboo.

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The topic that was never discussed.

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In the press or otherwise.

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Very rarely in artistic contexts.

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If you looked up the lexicon it was deeply depressing.

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It said homosexuality was a sexual perversity.

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They were trying to express "abnormality".

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For my part, I have to say it was interesting or a bit refreshing

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to see what Karl Evang, who later was the Health Director,

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what he wrote in an article in the journal "Sexual Enlightenment". It was pretty okay.

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But apart from that, it was a terrible denigration.

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When it all started, no one knew others in the same situation, of course, who were interested in starting an association.

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How did you get the names and addresses of others who were in the same situation?

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Bjørn Hansen had contacted a few who was present at the statutory meeting.

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In May 1950. In Oslo.

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At Bislet Hospits. We rented a room there.

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The proprietor was part of our "congregation".

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We had ...

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It was a very modest assembly.

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Not so many.

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By chance, I was elected chairman

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for the union.

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I got some kind of board, I say.

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Personal friends that I had a lot of trust in.

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But this was so risky and daring ...

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Many people were very scared to set their names on paper.

54
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So, this board was not a proper cabinet.

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What we could think of at that point as tasks to take on ...

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It was not that fixed.

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Something might turn up, as we went along.

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And then we had contact with the Danes.

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The Danes gave us all kinds of help and support.

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They had two years of experience.

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And they had a proper association

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with formalities that we could build on.

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But they wanted us to work completely 100% independently.

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So, I don't understand how the strange myth has formed,

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that we should be in any way subordinate to the Danish association.

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We went in as equals with the Swedes and Danes in a Scandinavian, or Nordic ...

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It was just Scandinavian, unification.

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And it was clear to us from the beginning that we had work to do internally, but also externally.

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After all, we were going to influence society, to change the attitude.

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You don't do that if you just sit around drinking coffee.

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But I have also written about this in "Løvetann».

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You say you were chosen to be chairman of the union, by chance.

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But as far as I remember from letters from Lundahl Madsen in Denmark,

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it was a very strong call for you to be leader?

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That I don't remember. I don't know that exactly.

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But what do I remember is ...

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I wasn't going to be on any board.

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I was already very involved in another organization.

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I helped create a society called "One World".

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I put a lot of work into it.

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Unfortunately, [today] it's almost extinct.

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I had a lot to do, I thought.

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Someone at this meeting had created a program for the organization.

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It would mean that in order to save money, one should not rent premises.

85
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We should visit each other.

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And then it was very important to have the opportunity to bring in needlework.

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The meetings should be cosy.

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And that's a picture that has stuck, that was how we operated.

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But it certainly wasn't.

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I remember protesting very much against his scheme.

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I said it wasn't in line with the tasks that we, through the statute, would take up.

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For example, working actively outward.

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So then ....

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And the others didn't know what they meant.

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When it came to voting, there was a slight majority for my program.

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That we should rent localities.
And work like .... the way the Danes worked.

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More seriously.

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So that it should not be a tea party.

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A cosy gathering over a cup of coffee.

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It would have died out pretty quickly.

101
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That was done in Trondheim.

102
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They started a small group at the same time. But they had that kind of cosy meetings.

103
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When they got tired of it, it died out.

104
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So, there was plenty for us to do.

105
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First point, as I remember it,

106
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was that we had to make ourselves known to the authorities.

107
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We weren't quite sure this was a legal enterprise.

108
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I wrote a letter to the police.

109
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I told them about the formation of our organization.

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I got no answer, in writing.

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They probably didn't know how to respond.

112
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But (indistinctly) it was, after all, that they did some activity.

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So, the fact that we formed the union in -45 ... No, sorry. In 1950,

114
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set wheels in motion. Most were invisible to us.

115
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And there was nothing public ....

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That's why I call it ... What I wrote in the "Løvetann": "A fight with no sound from weapons".

117
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It was all quiet.

118
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Among other things, the police approached the Ministry of Justice.

119
00:11:06,360 --> 00:11:11,040
The Criminal Law Council was commissioned to look into it.

120
00:11:11,360 --> 00:11:15,880
Whether to change paragraph 213.

121
00:11:16,200 --> 00:11:24,680
Our little club actually got a really important social task on its shoulders

122
00:11:24,680 --> 00:11:27,360
before we even knew it.

123
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That was in 1953.

124
00:11:31,240 --> 00:11:37,280
Then the Criminal Law Council gave their recommendation.

125
00:11:37,920 --> 00:11:41,400
To the Department of Justice.

126
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With pretty fateful provisions.

127
00:11:47,360 --> 00:11:55,240
About setting up the [age of consent] [compared] to heterosexual acts.

128
00:11:55,920 --> 00:11:58,960
A clear discrimination.

129
00:12:00,400 --> 00:12:03,440
But there were lots of tasks.

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00:12:03,520 --> 00:12:06,320
Both internally and otherwise.

131
00:12:06,880 --> 00:12:11,600
It was, after all, very important, what one has made so much fun of.

132
00:12:12,320 --> 00:12:19,040
That we arranged gatherings. You do not understand today what it meant at that time.

133
00:12:19,680 --> 00:12:26,320
The total isolation every individual homosexual was subject to.

134
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That was pretty awful.

135
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How to, especially in smaller places ...

136
00:12:33,000 --> 00:12:38,480
So, getting in touch with other homosexuals was an extremely important issue.

137
00:12:39,360 --> 00:12:44,520
So of course, it was an important task for us to arrange parties.

138
00:12:45,840 --> 00:12:49,760
Through the magazine Vennen there were also personal ads.

139
00:12:51,400 --> 00:12:55,960
The authorities in Denmark had tried to stop it.

140
00:12:56,720 --> 00:13:02,360
Because they thought it was dangerous ...

141
00:13:02,360 --> 00:13:06,960
The editor [Helmer] Fogedgaard was a bold man after all.

142
00:13:07,600 --> 00:13:12,600
On the whole, these Danes were incredibly inspiring.

143
00:13:13,320 --> 00:13:16,440
They were bold and clever people.

144
00:13:16,960 --> 00:13:22,720
And then we got in touch with the Swedes, too.

145
00:13:25,840 --> 00:13:29,000
So, this was a terribly exciting and interesting time,

146
00:13:29,520 --> 00:13:33,760
where things were going on all the time.

147
00:13:37,360 --> 00:13:43,280
In the fall of 1951, we sent out our first propaganda brochure.

148
00:13:44,240 --> 00:13:48,960
Øivind Eckhoff and I wrote the text together.

149
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I think, when I look at it today, it's not that bad.

150
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I think we got it the way we wanted.

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00:14:00,600 --> 00:14:04,480
We thought the text was nice and carefully shaped.

152
00:14:05,760 --> 00:14:08,120
But then the research has shown ....

153
00:14:08,120 --> 00:14:10,600
There have been articles in Løvetann ....

154
00:14:12,480 --> 00:14:15,480
The scientist named Tranøy. Was that his name?

155
00:14:19,200 --> 00:14:25,760
He found that the director at Gaustad Hospital had been furious.

156
00:14:26,360 --> 00:14:31,800
The brochure was sent to all psychologists and psychiatrists

157
00:14:31,800 --> 00:14:33,560
and every newspaper.

158
00:14:33,920 --> 00:14:36,240
We were waiting for the result with great anticipation.

159
00:14:38,320 --> 00:14:41,840
And he wanted to stop this.

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And report us to the police.

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00:14:44,600 --> 00:14:48,000
But he wanted to have Karl Evang,

162
00:14:48,000 --> 00:14:49,600
The Medical Director [Health Director],

163
00:14:50,000 --> 00:14:52,240
on board.

164
00:14:52,480 --> 00:14:54,760
But Karl Evang said no.

165
00:14:55,200 --> 00:14:57,760
He wouldn't be part of such a ban.

166
00:14:59,200 --> 00:15:04,020
So ...
Ørnulv Ødegård didn't manage [to stop us].

167
00:15:04,720 --> 00:15:07,160
But we were not aware of this.

168
00:15:07,440 --> 00:15:17,400
So, it turns out, the things we were doing were maybe a little more dangerous and riskier than we even thought ourselves.

169
00:15:18,320 --> 00:15:25,040
We arranged meetings.

170
00:15:25,440 --> 00:15:33,120
We contributed to the joint Scandinavian magazine Vennen.

171
00:15:33,560 --> 00:15:37,640
We brought up different issues.

172
00:15:37,640 --> 00:15:44,680
And we had Forbundsnytt, an internal members magazine.

173
00:15:45,560 --> 00:15:54,760
And there were lots of letters to answer, and inquiries from people who were frustrated, unhappy and so on.

174
00:15:55,360 --> 00:15:57,960
Some were exposed to extortion.

175
00:15:58,200 --> 00:16:05,520
Some were bullied at work because they understood that he had such an orientation.

176
00:16:06,280 --> 00:16:09,200
We didn’t see many lesbians, unfortunately,

177
00:16:09,680 --> 00:16:15,920
There was little contact. We made many attempts to get lesbian members.

178
00:16:16,560 --> 00:16:20,240
I thought it was important. We all agreed.

179
00:16:20,520 --> 00:16:24,080
[The organization] should be for homosexuals of both genders.

180
00:16:24,440 --> 00:16:30,840
But it took time to have lesbians in the association.

181
00:16:36,560 --> 00:16:42,600
It's hard for us today to see what the conditions were like for you back then,

182
00:16:42,840 --> 00:16:45,720
in connection with starting up.

183
00:16:46,040 --> 00:16:51,680
Today it goes without saying that we have the Internet, we are in dialogue with the Ministry

184
00:16:51,680 --> 00:16:54,480
in connection with many different subjects.

185
00:16:55,040 --> 00:17:00,560
There was even a problem to open an account?

186
00:17:01,600 --> 00:17:05,360
Yeah, I remember that well.

187
00:17:05,880 --> 00:17:10,120
Getting a mailbox was fine.

188
00:17:10,360 --> 00:17:15,100
But we needed a [bank] account for people to pay their fee for membership.

189
00:17:15,100 --> 00:17:20,000
I called the Post Office and they told me to come over.

190
00:17:20,640 --> 00:17:25,480
It was to be so easy, just a form to fill. It would be arranged in a minute.

191
00:17:25,560 --> 00:17:27,560
I arrived at the office.

192
00:17:28,000 --> 00:17:39,280
Then she says, "Well. "The Federation of -48". That doesn't say much. We should say something about what this is. "

193
00:17:39,760 --> 00:17:45,320
I had this ... It was some brochure. Maybe it was the one there ["What We Want"].

194
00:17:45,720 --> 00:17:50,040
So, I said, "Here you see what it is all about."

195
00:17:50,320 --> 00:17:56,320
The person read. Her eyes got bigger and bigger. They were about to fall out.

196
00:17:56,760 --> 00:17:59,880
And then the lady said nervously:

197
00:18:00,440 --> 00:18:07,320
Well, I had to wait a bit. They had to look at this a bit.

198
00:18:07,680 --> 00:18:10,120
So it wasn't that easy, after all.

199
00:18:10,120 --> 00:18:12,040
She was long gone.

200
00:18:12,240 --> 00:18:17,640
I remember faces appearing in doors staring at me.

201
00:18:18,200 --> 00:18:21,640
Like I was a strange animal.

202
00:18:22,320 --> 00:18:26,200
"Really? A homosexual person. My o my.”

203
00:18:26,520 --> 00:18:32,640
Finally, she came back, telling me it had to be discussed at a board meeting or something.

204
00:18:32,640 --> 00:18:36,000
So, things couldn't go that fast, but we would be told.

205
00:18:36,640 --> 00:18:42,320
And it actually took a few weeks before we were granted an account.

206
00:18:42,840 --> 00:18:46,520
What really should have gone so quickly.

207
00:18:46,880 --> 00:18:51,720
I remember that very well. It was very uncomfortable sitting there

208
00:18:51,720 --> 00:18:59,040
and was stared at from all sides, by frightened office workers.

209
00:18:59,520 --> 00:19:02,520
So, there are a few episodes like that.

210
00:19:02,840 --> 00:19:09,640
It's almost impossible today to imagine what it was like back then.

211
00:19:13,680 --> 00:19:17,800
You felt like something very rare, for example.

212
00:19:19,200 --> 00:19:25,040
Imagine someone had made a TV show like what I saw yesterday on TV,

213
00:19:26,040 --> 00:19:30,080
about sexual rarities,

214
00:19:30,360 --> 00:19:33,080
a British TV show,

215
00:19:33,360 --> 00:19:37,600
then homosexuality would have been included.

216
00:19:37,800 --> 00:19:46,360
It wasn't. So that's a sign of how things have changed.

217
00:19:51,520 --> 00:20:02,440
So, part of the isolation was the feeling that this was quite rare.

218
00:20:03,520 --> 00:20:06,960
And incurable and hopeless.

219
00:20:08,280 --> 00:20:13,440
You couldn't plan for a normal life.

220
00:20:13,840 --> 00:20:16,600
How would you fit in?

221
00:20:17,160 --> 00:20:19,520
And that's what I think is some of the essential.

222
00:20:19,720 --> 00:20:23,680
We haven't managed to solve all the problems, but who can do that ...

223
00:20:24,200 --> 00:20:26,200
But ...

224
00:20:26,520 --> 00:20:33,680
Thanks to the work done by the gay movement over the years,

225
00:20:33,680 --> 00:20:39,080
the opportunities for happiness today are so much greater for young gays.

226
00:20:40,440 --> 00:20:44,280
The opportunity to shape one’s life in a positive way.

227
00:20:44,600 --> 00:20:50,000
Find a friend to live with, and so on.

228
00:20:50,800 --> 00:20:57,760
So that might be the crucial difference.

229
00:20:59,920 --> 00:21:04,680
Yeah, it must have been incredibly difficult, compared to today.

230
00:21:05,160 --> 00:21:09,960
On the one hand, there was a disease, a diagnosis.

231
00:21:12,000 --> 00:21:17,960
And it is illogical, then, that a disease is punishable.

232
00:21:18,920 --> 00:21:22,800
Today you can enter into partnerships.

233
00:21:23,000 --> 00:21:27,400
None ... At least in cities it is relatively common to see two of the same sex

234
00:21:27,880 --> 00:21:29,880
living together

235
00:21:30,200 --> 00:21:33,240
and being together openly outside.

236
00:21:33,720 --> 00:21:37,080
You didn't have the opportunity to move in together, either.

237
00:21:37,400 --> 00:21:39,880
You had to live alone in rented rooms.

238
00:21:40,400 --> 00:21:42,400
Yes, for several reasons.

239
00:21:42,840 --> 00:21:48,680
First, it was the first years after the war, and housing norms

240
00:21:49,400 --> 00:21:51,880
to accommodate the families.

241
00:21:52,200 --> 00:21:54,400
Family-friendly housing policy.

242
00:21:54,680 --> 00:21:58,520
So, the single people had to stand in the back of the queue

243
00:21:59,400 --> 00:22:04,400
and maybe hope to get some kind of small accommodation.

244
00:22:04,840 --> 00:22:08,520
They should basically live in other people's apartments.

245
00:22:09,120 --> 00:22:10,800
So, it was very ...

246
00:22:11,880 --> 00:22:15,920
Second of all, it was ...

247
00:22:16,160 --> 00:22:22,040
There would be seen as highly remarkable if two men ...

248
00:22:22,400 --> 00:22:27,240
It happened, but it was very rare for two men to live together.

249
00:22:28,000 --> 00:22:30,000
Without being brothers or ....

250
00:22:31,040 --> 00:22:37,840
After all, it was perceived by neighbours as highly suspicious.

251
00:22:40,080 --> 00:22:45,080
As such, there has also been a huge improvement.

252
00:22:47,120 --> 00:22:50,040
No, it's clear that ...

253
00:22:50,920 --> 00:22:54,440
What we call self-image at that time was bad.

254
00:22:56,320 --> 00:23:01,280
But it was something that we in the Forbundet saw as very important to build.

255
00:23:01,480 --> 00:23:04,560
Self-confidence, eventually self-esteem.

256
00:23:05,160 --> 00:23:08,400
That one should not feel bad.

257
00:23:08,640 --> 00:23:13,960
But you had to join in to make the conditions better.

258
00:23:14,360 --> 00:23:18,200
Eventually, fortunately, more and more people understood this.

259
00:23:18,880 --> 00:23:26,160
That you had to participate and make an active effort, not just complain about how difficult it was.

260
00:23:28,280 --> 00:23:33,480
It turned out that this was the way to go.

261
00:23:36,080 --> 00:23:45,800
But I understand that today, it's difficult to understand the situation at that time.

262
00:23:51,520 --> 00:23:58,520
The Norwegian branch had close contact with Denmark and the Danish federation,

263
00:23:58,760 --> 00:24:04,000
there was an incredible amount of help and support in the start-up.

264
00:24:04,000 --> 00:24:11,680
Can you tell us a little about what happened in the time leading up to the formation of the Norwegian branch?

265
00:24:12,720 --> 00:24:16,880
Yeah, I can say that for the most part

266
00:24:17,200 --> 00:24:20,480
the collaboration was smooth and fine.

267
00:24:20,800 --> 00:24:27,960
But it's no wonder, if there at times were some inconsistencies.

268
00:24:28,160 --> 00:24:31,320
A lot of it may be due to my own fault.

269
00:24:31,600 --> 00:24:34,880
I was a little bit like ... What should I say?

270
00:24:34,880 --> 00:24:37,960
... unconventional.

271
00:24:38,480 --> 00:24:45,280
First of all, I wasn't so used to formalities.

272
00:24:45,280 --> 00:24:48,440
And we were such a tiny club after all.

273
00:24:48,840 --> 00:24:55,440
If we were to get things done, we couldn't always be 100 percent correct.

274
00:24:56,040 --> 00:24:58,520
We had to get things done.

275
00:24:58,880 --> 00:25:09,600
I personally was just waiting for a time when I could pass on the chairmanship.

276
00:25:09,760 --> 00:25:13,160
I didn't really like being chairman.

277
00:25:13,600 --> 00:25:16,360
I found it to be very tiring.

278
00:25:17,880 --> 00:25:20,240
And burdensome.

279
00:25:20,680 --> 00:25:25,000
I had so many other interests concerning our cause.

280
00:25:25,680 --> 00:25:27,840
I needed to read a lot.

281
00:25:28,200 --> 00:25:31,120
After all, some literature was published.

282
00:25:31,520 --> 00:25:35,000
And I needed to write articles.

283
00:25:35,520 --> 00:25:40,240
I found it to be important to influence society and attitudes,

284
00:25:40,640 --> 00:25:44,640
by using the press.

285
00:25:45,120 --> 00:25:48,920
So, I did that to a great extent.

286
00:25:49,960 --> 00:25:52,040
More people should have done the same.

287
00:25:52,400 --> 00:25:57,520
I must say, that the Norwegian press, by and large, was very interested.

288
00:25:58,040 --> 00:26:03,800
If only we had something to say.

289
00:26:03,800 --> 00:26:10,420
There was also an episode, an activist called Kai Mossin,

290
00:26:10,800 --> 00:26:16,800
I saw him to be a usable candidate to be our next chairman.

291
00:26:17,160 --> 00:26:24,400
And I have to admit that I should have been more formally correct in that matter.

292
00:26:25,160 --> 00:26:30,240
So, it's no wonder if the Danes reacted against it.

293
00:26:30,560 --> 00:26:37,520
They were a larger organization and could be more formally correct.

294
00:26:38,000 --> 00:26:43,280
But for me, always the most important thing was "Get things done."

295
00:26:44,000 --> 00:26:50,000
Even when it meant breaking some rules of the organization...

296
00:26:50,800 --> 00:26:52,880
We should not waste time, so much.

297
00:26:53,400 --> 00:26:58,040
Time was precious. And we got a lot done in a very short time.

298
00:26:58,360 --> 00:27:03,600
Yeah, of course it was ... There were some things where we were a little bit angry with each other.

299
00:27:04,360 --> 00:27:07,760
The Danes and us here, on the board.

300
00:27:08,120 --> 00:27:11,120
But as time went on ...

301
00:27:11,240 --> 00:27:14,760
We didn’t stay angry for long, neither did the Danes.

302
00:27:15,080 --> 00:27:17,440
We became good friends again, later.

303
00:27:18,160 --> 00:27:20,760
That's the impression I have.

304
00:27:21,520 --> 00:27:23,520
And ...

305
00:27:25,360 --> 00:27:31,440
For my part, I definitely think we benefited from the collaboration.

306
00:27:32,080 --> 00:27:38,720
But it's clear that after some time we felt a little stronger, so that we could stand on our own.

307
00:27:39,600 --> 00:27:44,960
So, it was quite a natural development that both the Swedes and the Norwegians

308
00:27:44,960 --> 00:27:49,760
left the Scandinavian union.

309
00:27:50,560 --> 00:27:57,360
For us, it happened in November 1952, I believe.

310
00:28:02,320 --> 00:28:07,760
After reading the correspondence between you and the Danish federation,

311
00:28:08,320 --> 00:28:12,880
I'm sitting with maybe the opposite impression from what you're saying.

312
00:28:13,160 --> 00:28:19,680
My impression is that the Norwegian department had decent conditions. They adhered to laws and regulations.

313
00:28:20,360 --> 00:28:23,360
You held your house in order, simply,

314
00:28:23,360 --> 00:28:29,160
whereas the Danes were at bit messy and a bit callous, maybe.

315
00:28:29,520 --> 00:28:35,720
Plus, there was also some conflict within the leadership of the Danish union during that period.

316
00:28:36,400 --> 00:28:38,400
Do you have any comments on that?

317
00:28:39,760 --> 00:28:42,200
Yeah, this was interesting to hear.

318
00:28:42,640 --> 00:28:48,240
There you see how easy it is for your memory to go wrong.

319
00:28:48,680 --> 00:28:53,214
Those are things you forget when you no longer have the papers.

320
00:28:53,214 --> 00:28:55,600
So, this was interesting to hear.

321
00:28:56,240 --> 00:29:02,360
Yes, unfortunately, there were many internal disputes in Denmark.

322
00:29:02,680 --> 00:29:05,320
It was so sad.

323
00:29:05,840 --> 00:29:07,840
I was there several times.

324
00:29:08,400 --> 00:29:11,560
And met with several people. And there were factions.

325
00:29:12,160 --> 00:29:16,360
It was a very bitter and hateful mood between them.

326
00:29:17,200 --> 00:29:19,600
It was terribly sad.

327
00:29:20,120 --> 00:29:30,120
Yeah, it seemed that sometimes there were chaotic conditions there.

328
00:29:30,520 --> 00:29:34,880
And the ambiguity about who was to be leader.

329
00:29:35,600 --> 00:29:42,520
But for me it was a very brilliant experience to get to know these people.

330
00:29:42,840 --> 00:29:50,240
The Swedes too. There were wonderful people on the board of the Swedish union.

331
00:29:53,020 --> 00:30:01,740
I personally had unique experiences coming to Copenhagen.

332
00:30:02,680 --> 00:30:04,680
Stockholm too.

333
00:30:05,240 --> 00:30:07,240
No, it's ...

334
00:30:07,480 --> 00:30:09,480
It might be right. It was interesting to hear this.

335
00:30:10,640 --> 00:30:13,400
It's been so many years.

336
00:30:14,400 --> 00:30:20,600
I can only tell you what I remember.

337
00:30:21,560 --> 00:30:24,000
And my memory might be a little coloured, a little pink. It is possible.

338
00:30:30,320 --> 00:30:37,200
"The emancipation" from Denmark took place, as you say, in November 1951.

339
00:30:40,440 --> 00:30:48,760
And then the Norwegian Forbund was started in 1953?

340
00:30:52,640 --> 00:30:56,720
I don't think I would have phrased it like that.

341
00:30:57,160 --> 00:31:00,320
We had our statutes and everything in order, so ...

342
00:31:01,200 --> 00:31:02,720
It was just ...

343
00:31:03,120 --> 00:31:06,600
Actually, there was no difference, in that sense.

344
00:31:07,280 --> 00:31:11,920
We changed the name to Det Norske Forbundet av --48 (the Norwegian Confederation of 48).

345
00:31:15,120 --> 00:31:19,680
Like the Swedes, we became independent.

346
00:31:20,960 --> 00:31:26,480
This Scandinavian association ceased then.

347
00:31:28,040 --> 00:31:30,280
It's a hypothetical question,

348
00:31:30,800 --> 00:31:37,200
was it an advantage or what would have happened if we had stayed together?

349
00:31:37,880 --> 00:31:42,000
but it was probably the right development.

350
00:31:42,440 --> 00:31:47,960
For my successor, who took over in November 1952 ...

351
00:31:48,640 --> 00:31:57,520
He was very eager to start on completely independent basis.

352
00:31:57,960 --> 00:32:05,440
But for our work itself, and for the formalities, there was no difference.

353
00:32:05,720 --> 00:32:08,680
We continued in on the exact same track.

354
00:32:10,680 --> 00:32:18,040
So, an emancipation in that sense ... I didn't see it that way.

355
00:32:19,200 --> 00:32:27,120
But you withdrew when it became a separate Norwegian federation.

356
00:32:27,320 --> 00:32:30,600
But as far as I remember you were still on the board?

357
00:32:31,360 --> 00:32:34,240
Or did you come back on the board?

358
00:32:38,480 --> 00:32:48,860
I took part from time to time.
But I kept track of what was going on.

359
00:32:49,360 --> 00:32:51,760
I was a pretty active member.

360
00:32:51,920 --> 00:32:54,120
And then I wrote these articles.

361
00:32:54,960 --> 00:32:57,660
Not everyone was so excited about it.

362
00:32:58,640 --> 00:33:01,360
I got myself involved in this and that.

363
00:33:01,680 --> 00:33:04,600
I went into opposition.

364
00:33:04,600 --> 00:33:08,240
When we had discussions in the association ...

365
00:33:08,680 --> 00:33:17,200
For example, I remember once when the chairman suggested that we exclude

366
00:33:17,400 --> 00:33:22,400
people who had contact with prostitute boys.

367
00:33:23,720 --> 00:33:26,880
We should not have such people as members.

368
00:33:27,720 --> 00:33:30,640
I remember a very stormy meeting.

369
00:33:31,320 --> 00:33:34,880
When we discussed that proposal.

370
00:33:35,840 --> 00:33:42,760
Øivind Eckhoff and I were absolutely against such a ban.

371
00:33:43,520 --> 00:33:48,480
We thought it could easily be abused and stuff like that.

372
00:33:49,520 --> 00:33:52,520
But the meeting found it to be just fine,

373
00:33:53,000 --> 00:33:57,340
so, the chairman, Dermot Mach, got it through.

374
00:33:58,600 --> 00:34:01,720
About prostitution.

375
00:34:02,200 --> 00:34:07,640
I remember there was a discussion about it in the member magazine.

376
00:34:10,480 --> 00:34:16,920
Later, in more modern times, that paragraph disappeared quietly.

377
00:34:17,160 --> 00:34:19,160
All by itself.

378
00:34:21,560 --> 00:34:27,960
That's one of the discussions I remember particularly well.

379
00:34:27,960 --> 00:34:33,380
Then I was criticised by Forbundet when in 1955, I believe,

380
00:34:34,480 --> 00:34:38,680
did some lobbying in the Parliament.

381
00:34:39,200 --> 00:34:44,880
I got in touch with the secretary, the spokesman for the Justice Committee.

382
00:34:45,360 --> 00:34:51,280
Because I had some material in addition to what Forbundet presented

383
00:34:52,240 --> 00:34:54,360
for this committee.

384
00:34:55,680 --> 00:34:57,680
He said they were interested in ....

385
00:34:58,200 --> 00:35:01,720
They knew so little about such things. So, he was very positive.

386
00:35:01,920 --> 00:35:06,880
He thanked me for what I could give him of material.

387
00:35:09,320 --> 00:35:14,440
I did this of my free will, it was my own initiative.

388
00:35:14,960 --> 00:35:23,400
I thought the material was important and could be useful for the Justice Committee

389
00:35:24,120 --> 00:35:32,200
who should do research and make a decision concerning § 213.

390
00:35:34,840 --> 00:35:41,400
I have been criticized for this, both then and now, by Dermot Mach who was then chairman.

391
00:35:41,720 --> 00:35:43,720
He meant I should not have gone on the outside.

392
00:35:44,520 --> 00:35:48,520
But at that time, nobody knew of lobbying.

393
00:35:49,200 --> 00:35:54,360
The word didn’t exist. But I understand that that's what I did.

394
00:35:56,600 --> 00:35:58,600
At least the result wasn't bad.

395
00:35:59,160 --> 00:36:04,720
Because Henrik Svendsen, a lawyer from Bergen,

396
00:36:05,040 --> 00:36:12,000
who was secretary and spokesman for the Justice Committee,

397
00:36:12,280 --> 00:36:18,440
he became a very important supporter of the Forbundet av -48.

398
00:36:18,840 --> 00:36:24,920
We can see that from the transcripts of the negotiations of the Parliament.

399
00:36:25,200 --> 00:36:31,520
He made sure that this dangerous bill was put away.

400
00:36:32,680 --> 00:36:37,640
You were Norway's first lobbyist, long before the word even existed.

401
00:36:38,000 --> 00:36:42,160
Today is a very common activity for associations.

402
00:36:42,640 --> 00:36:51,520
In 1953, the association started publishing a member’s magazine, eventually named Klubbnytt (Club News),

403
00:36:51,520 --> 00:36:56,280
Later it was called Oss (Us), Oss i mellom (Between us) and stuff like that.

404
00:36:57,920 --> 00:37:04,240
Were you involved in starting it? Were you an active contributor?

405
00:37:05,040 --> 00:37:09,160
I have certainly been eager to have some contributions printed, I would think.

406
00:37:09,560 --> 00:37:12,880
I didn't make a proper archive of it.

407
00:37:13,360 --> 00:37:16,360
But the magazine is there.

408
00:37:17,120 --> 00:37:19,080
But I have a comment ...

409
00:37:19,360 --> 00:37:21,400
It said usually just "Rolf"...

410
00:37:24,160 --> 00:37:28,320
When writing in newspapers, I had pseudonyms.

411
00:37:28,320 --> 00:37:30,040
Roar Lønne and such ...

412
00:37:30,400 --> 00:37:32,400
That was absolutely necessary.

413
00:37:33,320 --> 00:37:38,960
I wrote in Løvetann about what happened in 1950

414
00:37:39,200 --> 00:37:41,960
when I came out with a major article in Dagbladet.

415
00:37:42,040 --> 00:37:44,200
Against Section 213. [making sex between men illegal]

416
00:37:44,520 --> 00:37:46,840
Under my own name.

417
00:37:47,040 --> 00:37:52,400
Then I worked at the Aftenposten [major newspaper], which was extremely conservative at that time.

418
00:37:52,960 --> 00:37:55,840
I didn’t do myself any favours, that way.

419
00:38:00,080 --> 00:38:08,120
Therefore, one must have some understanding that what can be done today, one could not do at that time.

420
00:38:08,720 --> 00:38:18,720
I think it's regrettable that Karen-Christine Friele [veteran activist of next generation] blames us for using pseudonyms.

421
00:38:20,440 --> 00:38:22,920
She did it herself.

422
00:38:23,880 --> 00:38:35,440
If you see the first copies of the magazine that started in 1965, I think. It was called Oss.

423
00:38:35,440 --> 00:38:36,760
It's not here, but ...

424
00:38:41,680 --> 00:38:44,640
Kim Friele assumed responsibility as editor.

425
00:38:45,920 --> 00:38:49,800
It doesn’t say Kim Friele, in the first editions.

426
00:38:50,560 --> 00:38:52,800
It says Kim.

427
00:38:53,320 --> 00:38:54,520
I just mention this as an example.

428
00:38:55,040 --> 00:39:01,440
So, I think it's odd that she blames us, who worked under a lot harder and difficult times.

429
00:39:02,400 --> 00:39:11,120
Among others Øivind Eckhoff, who published a book under the pseudonym Finn Grodal.

430
00:39:11,680 --> 00:39:15,040
Nobody found it to be strange.

431
00:39:15,360 --> 00:39:20,960
Everyone found it to be highly understandable that he had to do it.

432
00:39:21,320 --> 00:39:24,640
But she's reacting negatively.

433
00:39:25,240 --> 00:39:34,320
She writes in her book "Trolls to be tamed" that she thinks his book was pretty indifferent

434
00:39:34,320 --> 00:39:37,680
because he had used a pseudonym.

435
00:39:38,080 --> 00:39:42,280
Pseudonyms, I think is an important thing to ...

436
00:39:42,440 --> 00:39:44,440
I didn't always do that.

437
00:39:44,840 --> 00:39:48,240
Sometimes I just didn’t care.

438
00:39:48,560 --> 00:39:50,240
And then I took a chance.

439
00:39:50,240 --> 00:39:58,360
But mostly I used pseudonyms because I didn't have any professional background

440
00:39:58,360 --> 00:40:00,520
to write about such topics.

441
00:40:01,040 --> 00:40:05,600
I was no psychologist, I was no lawyer, I was no priest either.

442
00:40:07,080 --> 00:40:13,280
I started out in advertising. A very sober industry.

443
00:40:13,720 --> 00:40:16,640
And then journalism.

444
00:40:17,040 --> 00:40:20,720
So, I did not have any special background for writing.

445
00:40:21,080 --> 00:40:23,680
I wrote often too. All the time.

446
00:40:24,000 --> 00:40:27,160
It would seem strange [to have my name under every article].

447
00:40:27,760 --> 00:40:34,720
You have to be a bit realistic. For me, the goal was: What useful action can we take?

448
00:40:36,640 --> 00:40:40,880
How should we work to get the most done?

449
00:40:42,720 --> 00:40:47,600
And that was by using different pseudonyms.

450
00:40:48,020 --> 00:40:50,300
And that way there were quite a few articles.

451
00:40:52,340 --> 00:40:57,880
This is collected in an archive in Copenhagen.

452
00:40:57,880 --> 00:41:07,720
The archive of the queer organization has collected these newspaper articles.

453
00:41:10,080 --> 00:41:15,320
You wrote an incredible number of articles under different pseudonyms.

454
00:41:15,640 --> 00:41:22,080
And as you say, it would look strange if the same person spoke out time and time again.

455
00:41:22,760 --> 00:41:29,400
It would also have to be an advantage if it seemed that several were active in the debate.

456
00:41:30,800 --> 00:41:33,240
You covered a wide range.

457
00:41:33,640 --> 00:41:38,360
I don't know how many articles you wrote up over the years, but there must be an incredible number.

458
00:41:38,760 --> 00:41:44,880
Everything from homo-political issues, to things that were more about literature and ....

459
00:41:45,560 --> 00:41:49,120
Yeah, you had a wide range.

460
00:41:53,120 --> 00:41:56,480
Yeah, I wrote about other topics, too.

461
00:41:57,220 --> 00:42:00,360
As I said, I was active in "One World."

462
00:42:00,720 --> 00:42:03,960
So, I wrote quite a few articles on peace issues.

463
00:42:04,360 --> 00:42:10,060
And later, around the mid-60s,

464
00:42:10,060 --> 00:42:17,720
I was part of the founding of the Human-Ethical Association, and did some articles on that subject.

465
00:42:18,080 --> 00:42:24,040
The church dictatorship and the need to soften it up.

466
00:42:24,440 --> 00:42:25,400
But ...

467
00:42:26,320 --> 00:42:32,200
I have to say most of what I did was for the gay movement.

468
00:42:32,600 --> 00:42:34,600
And there it was ....

469
00:42:35,240 --> 00:42:37,440
For example, science communication...

470
00:42:38,080 --> 00:42:42,400
As I said, books were published.

471
00:42:44,120 --> 00:42:46,680
Especially abroad.

472
00:42:47,120 --> 00:42:50,200
America, Denmark, Sweden.

473
00:42:50,800 --> 00:42:54,640
I wanted to make sure the contents of these books were known.

474
00:42:55,120 --> 00:42:59,560
Then we were lucky to have newspapers that always opened their columns.

475
00:42:59,560 --> 00:43:02,400
At least for me, so I have nothing to complain about.

476
00:43:02,520 --> 00:43:04,040
And that was Dagbladet.

477
00:43:04,640 --> 00:43:13,040
They always found it interesting, news from research about homosexuality.

478
00:43:13,960 --> 00:43:18,320
So, it was a lot of work to review new books.

479
00:43:18,720 --> 00:43:24,120
I wrote articles about famous homosexuals as well.

480
00:43:24,680 --> 00:43:27,720
Started with Oscar Wilde, and so on.

481
00:43:28,960 --> 00:43:36,200
Usually we didn’t get to know.

482
00:43:36,520 --> 00:43:47,920
Of Oscar Wilde, we only knew he was sentenced to two years for moral crimes, it said.

483
00:43:48,240 --> 00:43:52,840
It took many years until we knew what really ...

484
00:43:53,240 --> 00:43:59,040
As we got to read biographies that gradually became more open--minded.

485
00:43:59,600 --> 00:44:08,320
It was also to reinforce the homosexual self-esteem, you know. We are in good company.

486
00:44:09,120 --> 00:44:13,600
[There are] so many cultural personalities belonging to "our wing".

487
00:44:14,160 --> 00:44:16,760
It did of course have a little effect.

488
00:44:17,120 --> 00:44:20,840
And this is still going on. But now it's easier.

489
00:44:21,280 --> 00:44:24,760
But there are still protests.

490
00:44:25,360 --> 00:44:27,640
One would rather have the geniuses for oneself.

491
00:44:27,920 --> 00:44:32,320
Don't mess with Shakespeare or Beethoven.

492
00:44:32,920 --> 00:44:37,280
They don’t want any ...

493
00:44:38,040 --> 00:44:41,600
... scratches in the idol.

494
00:44:42,000 --> 00:44:44,720
I guess it's still like that.

495
00:44:45,280 --> 00:44:52,320
But it's incredibly important. And maybe especially for people around the country who feel incredibly alone

496
00:44:52,440 --> 00:44:55,920
and like some rare, strange animals, maybe still.

497
00:44:56,200 --> 00:45:00,600
In small places, it's incredibly important to get, if not role models,

498
00:45:00,600 --> 00:45:08,120
at least people who are good at something and good--natured, who are also gay.

499
00:45:08,440 --> 00:45:11,720
It's very important to get it into the open.

500
00:45:13,640 --> 00:45:18,160
I want to go back to the meetings we had the first period.

501
00:45:18,440 --> 00:45:23,160
Obviously, it was about strengthening self--esteem.

502
00:45:23,360 --> 00:45:25,360
And make people feel better.

503
00:45:25,640 --> 00:45:26,960
These meetings were ...

504
00:45:27,000 --> 00:45:29,000
Not many people showed up.

505
00:45:29,560 --> 00:45:31,720
It wasn't a brilliant assembly.

506
00:45:32,240 --> 00:45:35,880
They were pretty ordinary people.

507
00:45:37,880 --> 00:45:41,400
The mood was a bit serious, I would say.

508
00:45:41,680 --> 00:45:43,080
So, it took ...

509
00:45:43,400 --> 00:45:45,640
I've never been someone to entertain and make people laugh.

510
00:45:46,040 --> 00:45:52,680
So, it took some time before we had good meetings.

511
00:45:52,920 --> 00:45:55,120
With entertainment.

512
00:45:55,520 --> 00:45:58,200
Praise to those who contributed.

513
00:45:58,720 --> 00:46:01,760
I'm thinking of Willy Mikkelsen, for example.

514
00:46:01,840 --> 00:46:04,000
Some people have heard of him.

515
00:46:04,520 --> 00:46:07,240
And others who came up with something funny.

516
00:46:07,800 --> 00:46:13,440
In this way, it wasn't just sorrow and sadness and trouble and stuff.

517
00:46:13,880 --> 00:46:21,000
So eventually the meetings got better and we found better venues.

518
00:46:21,800 --> 00:46:23,800
But that was ...

519
00:46:24,360 --> 00:46:29,800
Personally, if I'm honest, I did not like very much ...

520
00:46:30,560 --> 00:46:33,800
... to be around a large group of homosexuals.

521
00:46:34,240 --> 00:46:36,680
Because then we had these "skruller" [effeminate gay men].

522
00:46:37,160 --> 00:46:39,920
I had some trouble digesting them.

523
00:46:40,400 --> 00:46:42,400
Unfortunately, I must say.

524
00:46:42,400 --> 00:46:43,920
It's a bit prejudiced, but ...

525
00:46:44,240 --> 00:46:50,200
There were a lot of people who obviously had problems with their gender identification.

526
00:46:50,560 --> 00:46:52,560
And like ...

527
00:46:52,920 --> 00:46:59,160
... would solve their problem, by imagining that they were actually ladies.

528
00:46:59,760 --> 00:47:03,160
And have girls’ names and so on.

529
00:47:04,760 --> 00:47:09,800
Personally, I wasn't that thrilled about it.

530
00:47:10,440 --> 00:47:15,000
Fortunately, it's a phenomenon that has almost disappeared.

531
00:47:15,280 --> 00:47:19,160
Today there are drag shows and fun things.

532
00:47:19,560 --> 00:47:21,920
You have Garlic Girls and much like ...

533
00:47:22,360 --> 00:47:26,080
They are good and talented showmen. It will be something completely different.

534
00:47:26,920 --> 00:47:29,400
But the "skruller", like this every day ....

535
00:47:29,800 --> 00:47:34,360
... where they put girl names on each other, and ...

536
00:47:34,680 --> 00:47:37,040
I never liked the that thing.

537
00:47:37,400 --> 00:47:40,720
But there was such a strong urge for some, so it was not easy to ....

538
00:47:41,200 --> 00:47:48,600
But I think Forbundet might have ...

539
00:47:49,280 --> 00:47:51,280
But got it better, eventually.

540
00:47:51,720 --> 00:47:59,680
... into the background, since we made it easier to have a proper gender identification.

541
00:48:00,400 --> 00:48:06,120
For we are as much boys as others, even though we are gay.

542
00:48:06,800 --> 00:48:10,240
A gay man is not one who is really a girl.

543
00:48:10,520 --> 00:48:15,560
And now it has become clear that transvestism is something else entirely.

544
00:48:16,000 --> 00:48:19,440
But back then it was probably (inaudible)

545
00:48:20,520 --> 00:48:24,680
So, I personally wasn't that thrilled about that.

546
00:48:24,680 --> 00:48:26,680
These ...

547
00:48:26,680 --> 00:48:28,380
... "skrulle" persons.

548
00:48:29,480 --> 00:48:32,380
And I'm so glad to see today, that ....

549
00:48:32,680 --> 00:48:34,680
There are some who criticize them, and ...

550
00:48:35,120 --> 00:48:41,240
I think it's a little important that today's young homosexuals behave just like ordinary people.

551
00:48:42,080 --> 00:48:47,440
Without screaming and squawking and being silly and (inaudible) and ....

552
00:48:52,120 --> 00:48:55,280
It was during the war ...

553
00:48:56,160 --> 00:49:00,800
... that I eventually became aware of my orientation.

554
00:49:01,480 --> 00:49:03,480
I had the pleasure of joining ...

555
00:49:04,480 --> 00:49:06,880
... a group of young people ...

556
00:49:07,280 --> 00:49:09,280
... nice ...

557
00:49:10,920 --> 00:49:12,920
We had a lot of fun.

558
00:49:12,920 --> 00:49:14,920
We danced swing.

559
00:49:17,760 --> 00:49:20,600
And there was a girl.

560
00:49:21,600 --> 00:49:23,920
I understood she was a little interested in me.

561
00:49:25,000 --> 00:49:27,560
She was both pretty, intelligent and festive.

562
00:49:28,160 --> 00:49:31,320
And then she was very good at dancing swing.

563
00:49:31,320 --> 00:49:33,320
Well ... So ...

564
00:49:34,800 --> 00:49:36,800
But I noticed that ...

565
00:49:36,960 --> 00:49:46,280
... unlike the other guys, I wasn't particularly interested in ...

566
00:49:47,400 --> 00:49:49,840
... to be close.

567
00:49:50,480 --> 00:49:52,560
Except for the dancing.

568
00:49:54,160 --> 00:49:57,240
So, I realized I was a little special there.

569
00:49:58,240 --> 00:50:00,640
On the other hand, it was one of the other guys ....

570
00:50:00,840 --> 00:50:02,840
... like my best mate ...

571
00:50:03,080 --> 00:50:04,640
... like ...

572
00:50:05,400 --> 00:50:08,840
I understood that I loved him.

573
00:50:09,360 --> 00:50:12,160
And (inaudible) very jealous.

574
00:50:12,400 --> 00:50:15,440
So, it didn’t work out.

575
00:50:15,960 --> 00:50:19,180
But then by observing oneself,

576
00:50:19,180 --> 00:50:21,980
I came to the conclusion, then.

577
00:50:23,080 --> 00:50:25,280
And it wasn't very fun.

578
00:50:25,600 --> 00:50:28,120
It was pretty hard.

579
00:50:28,920 --> 00:50:31,680
No help, no one to talk to.

580
00:50:32,240 --> 00:50:34,240
Talking to parents or something ...

581
00:50:34,600 --> 00:50:38,000
... or sibling, was absolutely impossible.

582
00:50:39,400 --> 00:50:41,400
Such an unhappy thing.

583
00:50:41,800 --> 00:50:44,360
And I had no gay friends.

584
00:50:44,920 --> 00:50:48,200
That isolation was terrible.

585
00:50:48,880 --> 00:50:50,180
I have to say ...

586
00:50:50,180 --> 00:50:54,620
For that reason alone, the Forbundet had a great mission.

587
00:50:56,000 --> 00:50:57,480
So ...

588
00:50:58,120 --> 00:51:03,280
I remember I went to a neurologist, as it was then called. I think.

589
00:51:03,840 --> 00:51:06,320
To get some good advice or something.

590
00:51:09,400 --> 00:51:11,400
He comforted me and said ...

591
00:51:12,080 --> 00:51:17,320
... you could be a good person even if you were gay.

592
00:51:18,040 --> 00:51:20,000
And then he said ...

593
00:51:20,720 --> 00:51:25,760
He personally knew gay people whom he had great respect for.

594
00:51:27,240 --> 00:51:29,240
Oh, it was on the tip of my tongue ...

595
00:51:29,720 --> 00:51:32,120
Couldn't I meet them?

596
00:51:32,120 --> 00:51:34,140
But I didn't dare ask.

597
00:51:34,140 --> 00:51:35,600
Maybe I should have.

598
00:51:36,080 --> 00:51:37,920
That was the main problem ...

599
00:51:38,440 --> 00:51:40,800
... you didn't know anyone else with the same ...

600
00:51:40,960 --> 00:51:43,040
.... orientation.

601
00:51:43,440 --> 00:51:45,440
It lasted many more years.

602
00:51:45,760 --> 00:51:50,120
Until I happened to get in touch with a gay boy.

603
00:51:50,240 --> 00:51:52,240
And he knew others.

604
00:51:52,760 --> 00:51:56,240
He was a bit conspicuous.

605
00:51:56,720 --> 00:51:58,720
So, I figured he ...

606
00:51:59,400 --> 00:52:01,760
But he was very sweet and nice.

607
00:52:02,280 --> 00:52:04,960
And then it turned out that this was in Trondheim.

608
00:52:08,720 --> 00:52:11,080
There was a small sub--culture.

609
00:52:11,360 --> 00:52:13,880
Gays who used to meet.

610
00:52:14,240 --> 00:52:16,240
In a place near Lilletorget.

611
00:52:19,080 --> 00:52:21,080
There was no association, you know.

612
00:52:21,600 --> 00:52:25,080
But there you knew you would probably meet someone.

613
00:52:25,680 --> 00:52:28,560
Both winter and summer.

614
00:52:30,560 --> 00:52:32,880
And I remember ...

615
00:52:33,320 --> 00:52:35,680
Yeah, and then it was a very pretty boy there ...

616
00:52:36,040 --> 00:52:38,720
... I liked him, but ...

617
00:52:41,240 --> 00:52:44,320
He just swarmed for German soldiers.

618
00:52:44,400 --> 00:52:47,080
I didn't have a chance there.

619
00:52:48,480 --> 00:52:51,240
But the German uniformed soldiers, it was ...

620
00:52:51,640 --> 00:52:53,960
... that was the big adventure.

621
00:52:54,240 --> 00:52:56,320
He claimed he at least knew someone.

622
00:52:56,920 --> 00:52:59,280
He met them in hiding.

623
00:52:59,400 --> 00:53:02,280
I don't know, could have been a lie. Maybe it was.

624
00:53:05,240 --> 00:53:10,800
Anyway. There was a big and widespread interest in the German soldiers.

625
00:53:11,400 --> 00:53:14,600
To tell you the truth.

626
00:53:15,400 --> 00:53:17,760
And they were pretty good-looking too.

627
00:53:18,040 --> 00:53:21,560
They sang so well as they marched through the city streets.

628
00:53:26,760 --> 00:53:28,760
So, it's no wonder ...

629
00:53:29,160 --> 00:53:32,680
... that German soldiers were popular.

630
00:53:35,360 --> 00:53:38,080
But as I said, I got to know ...

631
00:53:38,560 --> 00:53:41,940
But then I planned that when the war was over,

632
00:53:41,940 --> 00:53:44,360
I would go to Oslo.

633
00:53:45,380 --> 00:53:47,380
Our family had lived there before,

634
00:53:47,880 --> 00:53:51,040
in the 30s, so I wasn't completely unknown.

635
00:53:52,340 --> 00:53:59,140
To get away from the narrow ...

636
00:54:01,820 --> 00:54:04,200
But sometimes I was thinking ...

637
00:54:04,300 --> 00:54:06,300
A depressing thought was ...

638
00:54:07,320 --> 00:54:10,940
how good life could have been if you only could be normal.

639
00:54:11,420 --> 00:54:18,320
You could have lived with the sweet, pretty, charming girl who had a shown interest for me.

640
00:54:19,140 --> 00:54:20,420
And could ...

641
00:54:20,420 --> 00:54:21,680
Yeah ...

642
00:54:21,840 --> 00:54:24,020
... set out to start a family.

643
00:54:24,020 --> 00:54:25,760
Have children, etc.

644
00:54:27,320 --> 00:54:29,320
So ...

645
00:54:29,500 --> 00:54:31,500
Things like that ...

646
00:54:33,240 --> 00:54:38,640
There was no such thing as gay happiness.

647
00:54:38,640 --> 00:54:40,040
Back then, that is.

648
00:54:40,180 --> 00:54:44,140
It was like an encompassing darkness.

649
00:54:44,940 --> 00:54:49,380
But of course. As I have said: It was important to meet ...

650
00:54:49,520 --> 00:54:51,680
... likeminded persons.

651
00:54:53,560 --> 00:54:58,440
Not everyone was as serious as about this as I was.

652
00:54:59,300 --> 00:55:01,300
Like I said, there were several ...

653
00:55:01,380 --> 00:55:04,340
... who were easy going ...

654
00:55:04,600 --> 00:55:06,980
... types in a bright mood and such.

655
00:55:07,000 --> 00:55:09,380
That did help.

656
00:55:10,240 --> 00:55:14,720
But then, in the fall of 1945, I moved to Oslo.

657
00:55:17,620 --> 00:55:19,620
And got to know a lot of people here.

658
00:55:20,420 --> 00:55:22,740
And I, as I said, felt it was in the air ...

659
00:55:23,060 --> 00:55:25,060
... that it had to happen ....

660
00:55:25,240 --> 00:55:27,920
... the formation of an organization.

661
00:55:29,760 --> 00:55:33,260
And it was a great encouragement this magazine that was ...

662
00:55:33,920 --> 00:55:38,780
... a reading circle they had in Switzerland.
It's called Der Kreis.

663
00:55:39,200 --> 00:55:42,520
And then, in 1948, you heard from Denmark ...

664
00:55:42,860 --> 00:55:45,560
And that was great.

665
00:55:49,160 --> 00:55:55,240
Unlike some others, you knew languages well.

666
00:55:56,300 --> 00:55:58,300
You could read Der Kreis.

667
00:56:00,140 --> 00:56:03,780
But how did you hear about what was happening in Denmark?

668
00:56:05,800 --> 00:56:08,440
Was it via Der Kreis?

669
00:56:10,020 --> 00:56:13,760
How did you find out that the Danish union started?

670
00:56:16,300 --> 00:56:19,920
It was like from hand to mouth.

671
00:56:20,880 --> 00:56:22,240
That ...

672
00:56:22,340 --> 00:56:24,340
Word of mouth, it's called.

673
00:56:28,260 --> 00:56:32,000
After all, many people went on holiday trips to Copenhagen.

674
00:56:32,000 --> 00:56:34,000
Popular holiday destination.

675
00:56:34,720 --> 00:56:36,200
And they had met ...

676
00:56:36,580 --> 00:56:39,500
... people who had signed up or told about

677
00:56:39,740 --> 00:56:41,740
forming the association over there.

678
00:56:42,160 --> 00:56:45,140
And who got hold of some ...

679
00:56:45,680 --> 00:56:48,560
propaganda brochures and stuff.

680
00:56:49,120 --> 00:56:50,560
That way ...

681
00:56:51,040 --> 00:56:55,540
And then, as I mentioned, it was Bjørn Hansen who showed up later.

682
00:56:56,360 --> 00:56:58,360
It was ...

683
00:56:58,760 --> 00:57:02,980
... towards the end of 1949, I think. Something like that,

684
00:57:03,820 --> 00:57:06,180
that Bjørn Hansen showed up ...

685
00:57:07,380 --> 00:57:14,360
... and noted who might be interested in

686
00:57:14,540 --> 00:57:18,500
being members of a Norwegian association.

687
00:57:22,180 --> 00:57:23,680
So ...

688
00:57:25,620 --> 00:57:27,620
No, it's ...

689
00:57:27,780 --> 00:57:30,500
I don't think Norwegian newspapers wrote anything ....

690
00:57:30,600 --> 00:57:32,600
.. about that.

691
00:57:35,660 --> 00:57:44,720
After we formed [DNF-48], Lundahl Madsen [from Copenhagen] came in the fall of 1951.

692
00:57:44,920 --> 00:57:47,660
Later, he was called Axel Axgil ...

693
00:57:48,860 --> 00:57:50,860
... a trip to Oslo.

694
00:57:51,720 --> 00:57:53,720
And ...

695
00:57:53,960 --> 00:57:55,960
... we agreed then ...

696
00:57:56,660 --> 00:57:58,660
... should ...

697
00:57:59,040 --> 00:58:01,480
... he was to tell what had happened in Denmark.

698
00:58:02,040 --> 00:58:05,800
But also let it shine through that now some things were about to ...

699
00:58:06,780 --> 00:58:09,420
But we were a little afraid of how the reactions might be.

700
00:58:12,340 --> 00:58:14,340
And then ...

701
00:58:15,180 --> 00:58:17,180
I remember I called Dagbladet,

702
00:58:17,400 --> 00:58:21,420
and got in touch with a journalist there.

703
00:58:22,000 --> 00:58:24,000
He's ...

704
00:58:24,240 --> 00:58:26,760
What was his name?

705
00:58:29,000 --> 00:58:31,680
What was his name again? One of the well-known ones.

706
00:58:32,320 --> 00:58:34,920
Who's a pensioner today.

707
00:58:35,480 --> 00:58:37,480
Well. It says somewhere.

708
00:58:37,980 --> 00:58:41,260
He interviewed Lundahl Madsen.

709
00:58:41,880 --> 00:58:45,060
It was a big spread.

710
00:58:46,820 --> 00:58:49,540
Which certainly aroused horror:

711
00:58:50,380 --> 00:58:54,920
Now the gays were out and about.

712
00:58:54,980 --> 00:58:56,980
Or had begun to move.

713
00:58:57,300 --> 00:58:59,380
And create an organization.

714
00:59:00,740 --> 00:59:04,360
Let me add a few words too about

715
00:59:04,360 --> 00:59:06,700
the term gay (homofil).

716
00:59:07,560 --> 00:59:09,560
It was an expression that ...

717
00:59:09,940 --> 00:59:13,400
... editor of Vennen, Helmer Fogedgaard,

718
00:59:13,720 --> 00:59:15,720
had found.

719
00:59:16,060 --> 00:59:18,060
It was a hit

720
00:59:18,320 --> 00:59:20,320
and became very popular.

721
00:59:20,720 --> 00:59:22,860
Both inward and outward.

722
00:59:23,200 --> 00:59:31,640
And I find it very useful to have the word homofil next to the term homosexual.

723
00:59:31,960 --> 00:59:33,960
These are not identical things.

724
00:59:34,240 --> 00:59:40,780
But I understand that today some strange reluctance has appeared to use

725
00:59:40,940 --> 00:59:43,640
the words homofil and homosexual.

726
00:59:44,480 --> 00:59:46,480
I think it's regrettable.

727
00:59:46,880 --> 00:59:50,600
We need the word both linguistically and for the meaning.

 

 

Rolf Løvaas intervjuet i 1996