Queer Lawfare Seminar Series

To mark the celebration of 50 years since homosexuality was decriminalised in Norway, LawTransform will run, throughout 2022, a seminar series focused on queer rights activism in different contexts. While fighting for the recognition of rights, activists have to develop strategies and adapt to complex political landscapes and sometimes even face persecution and repression.

This 50th anniversary is a great and important opportunity not only to remember and commemorate what has already been achieved but also to increase awareness about the challenges the queer community continues to face in Norway and beyond. LGBTQ rights have become increasingly politicised, and queer persons continue living under threat because of their sexual and gender identity. There are still countries that criminalize homosexuality and even more societies that even without criminalisation are marked by homotransphobia and do not recognise rights such as marriage, adoption, change of name and gender marks for trans people, and ban of reversion therapies. And activists that fight for these rights face harassment, arrest, and persecution. This project is supported by Fritt Ord.


Next seminars:

20.June: The Forbidden Library

In the context of global anti-gender movements, SAIH and the CMI-UiB Centre on Law & Social Transformation reunite KKeval Harie (GALA Queer Archive South Africa), Tone Hellesund (UiB), Liv Mar Taule (Skeivt Arkiv) and a representative from Skeiv Verden Vest for an exciting panel discussion moderated by Liv Tønnessen (CMI). By that means, we aim to debate the importance of preserving queer knowledge – and the challenges for achieving this – counting on the experience of scholars, civil society organizations, and archives that document, preserve and disseminate queer history and culture. 

On the panel: Keval Harie (GALA Queer Archive South Africa), Tone Hellesund (UiB), Liv Tønnessen (LawTransform/CMI) and representatives from Skeivt Arkiv (TBC) and Skeiv Verden Vest (TBC)


Previous seminars:

9.March: Queer rights activism under political uncertainty

This hybrid seminar discusses the strategies queer rights activists adopt according to opportunity structures in unfavourable contexts, especially when dealing with criminalisation or lack of legal recognition.

On the panel: Yvee Oduor (Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya), Sonia Audi (Queerhive), Matthew Gichohi (CMI), Lise Rakner (UiB-CMI), Liv Tønnessen (CMI), Ayo Sogunro (University of Pretoria) and Siri Gloppen (UiB – moderator).


21.March: LGBT rights in Sudan

LawTransform co-organized (with Sex&Politikk and NORAD) a film screening of the Art of Sin and a panel discussion on LGBT rights in Sudan with our co-director Liv Tønnessen, Ahmed Umar (the Norwegian Ambassador to Sudan) and an LGBT activist from Sudan. Jon Lomøy (former head of NORAD) chaired the panel. The seminar was in person and by invitation only as an activist from Sudan participated and the film will be shown at NRK later this year.

On the panel: Liv Tønnessen (LawTransform/CMI), Ahmed Umar (the Norwegian Ambassador to Sudan), Jon Lomøy (former head of NORAD) and an LGBT activist from Sudan.


23. March: Film screening – “Camila comes out tonight”

LawTransform and Bergen Global are happy to invite you for the second event in our “Queer Lawfare” seminar series, this time in partnership with Cine Latino! On March 23rd at 16.30, we will be waiting for you at Jussbygget II (Jekteviksbakken 31, room 145 – Auditorium) with empanadas, candy and popcorn for a free screening of the film “Camila comes out tonight” followed by a conversation on “Queer youth as activists”, with representatives from LawTransform, Skeiv Ungdom, and Skeiv Verden.

On the panel: Ana Côrtes (LawTransform), Isabella Lie Befring (Skeiv Ungdom), Erwin Rapiz Navarro (Skeiv Verden), and Siri Gloppen (UiB – moderator)

7. April Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on LGBTQ persons

The COVID-19 pandemic had devastating effects on several social minority groups. This event aims to address the specific effects it had on the LGBTQ community, highlighting the experiences from Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Uganda. In this seminar, we will also have the opportunity to hear from two of LawTransform’s current guest researchers.

On the panel: Carmeliza Rosario (CMI), Adrian Jjuuko (Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum) and anonymous

Date and time: 7th of April 2022 – 14.00 (Bergen time)


07.June: Global Queer Movements: Perspectives from the Global South

LawTransform is collaborating with Skeiv Verden Vest and Rafto on an event that is part of the official Bergen Pride calendar and invites speakers from Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa and South America to give us a picture of the current situation when it comes to fighting for rights and the existence of LGBTQ+ people around the world.

On the panel: Frank Mugisha (he/him) LGBT advocate from Uganda, Rafto prize and John F. Kennedy Human Riights winner. Frank is the most prominent LGBT advocate in Uganda.

Suneela Mubayi (she/her) scholar, translator and writer. Advocate in gender and sexual liberation, and the intersection between language, the body and poetry. Has Indian descent and citizen of the world.

Ana Cortes (she/her) lawyer, activist and researcher. Has a background in working with trans rights cases in Brazil. She is the current Board leader of Skeiv Verden Vest.

Romeo Cabarde (he/him) lawyer, queer and political activist from the Philippines. Has a background in law and is very engaged in the promulgation of queer rights in the Philippines.


To contact us about the Queer Lawfare Seminar Series, please reach out to Ana Côrtes (ana.cortes@cmi.no).

Photo credits: Cecilie Johnsen via Unsplash.