Homophobia in Norway...
I just received this from my good friend Bruce Bawer...this is very disturbing...
I had already written the above when my husband and I suddenly found out that his mother was terribly sick and in intensive care. We rushed to the bus station to take a bus to my husband's hometown, Notodden, so that his brother could pick us up and drive us to the town, Skien, where their mother is hospitalized. We were boarding the bus, a bus each of us has taken countless times, when the driver told us, with a smirk, that we could not take the bus. He claimed that the reason was that he had seen my husband smoking before getting on the bus. This was obviously bullshit. It is very common for Norwegians to smoke before getting on a bus. They do not get punished for this. I asked the driver for his name. He refused to give it to me.
It was very clear why this driver was treating us this way. We explained to him that my husband's mother is in intensive care in a hospital in Skien. He just smirked. Yes, he smirked, This was plainly pure homophobia. We did not take this lightly. We both kicked up a fuss. A guard materialzed. I tried to film him with the videocamera I had on me. He yelled at me to turn it off.
The name of the bus company is Timekspressen.
I am reporting this here for the edifiication of anyone who thinks that Scandinavia is such a wonderful place for gay people. One thing I have learned in my ten years here is that the so-called liberality of this part of the world is skin-deep. There is a big difference between the official acceptance of gay people and the treatment gay people receive when they dare to wander out of a very tiny urban area. I have never experienced this kind of treatment in the United States, not even in the Southern states, which so many of my gay friends here in Norway are so scared to visit, because they think those states are so dangerous for gay people.
I am also reporting this here for the benefit of those who think that gay people are making noise about prejudice that does not really exist. It does exist. Yes, indeed, it certainly does. My mother-in-law is terribly ill, and I should be on my way to her bedside, and instead I am here writing this.