June 25, 2022

Attack against queer pub leads to Pride being cancelled in Oslo, Norway

Tonight, shortly after 1 AM, a man attacked London Pub, a popular place for queer people in Oslo, with an automatic weapon. The police arrived quickly on the scene, and apprehended the man in collaboration with civilians at the scene.

Yesterday I posted an article on a new Norwegian survey shows increased public support for LGBTQ+ people, trans people included. Today we woke up to the news of what most likely is a terrorist attack against LGBTQA+ people. 

So, was I wrong about my rather positive view of Norwegian attitudes towards queer people? 

No, it this truly was a terrorist attack, which seems very likely, it is rather a sign of how some transphobes and homophobes try to pour petrol on the bigotry that does exist, gaining more support in the process. Ironically, this attack is more likely to increase the support for queer and trans people in Norway.

Here is what we know

This is what we know in the morning of June 25, given newspaper coverage and the Oslo Police press conference:

Tonight a 42 year old Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin attacked two pubs in the center of Oslo, Per på hjørnet and London Pub. London Pub is a queer watering hole. Per på hjørnet lies side by side with London Pub. The shooting took place outside these pubs.

The man fired into the crowd, killing two persons in the process.  Ten persons are seriously wounded, 11 less severely so.

The police appeared within minutes. In collaboration with private citizens at the scene, they stopped  further carnage, and – again in collaboration with civilians – they apprehended the suspect.

The police contacted Oslo Pride and recommended that today's Pride Parade should be cancelled, due to security reasons. The organizers of Pride Parade agreed. All Pride arrangements have been cancelled today.

This is most likely an act of anti-LGBTQA terrorism

The police has not concluded on the man's motive, but the fact that they recommended a cancellation of Pride tells us that they consider a anti-LGBTQA motive to be very likely. 

Indeed, at the press conference it was this connection that was discussed the most. The police believes that the most likely objective was "to create fear in the population". They say that there are strong indications of the main goal being to hurt Pride.

The arrested man has prior convictions, and "is known by the PST" (the Police Security/Intelligence Services).

Whether he has any psychiatric history that might explain this kind of behavior is unknown at the moment, although according to police there is nothing in their records to indicate this.

The man has been charged with murder and terrorism by mass shooting.

London Pub, Oslo, Photo: MisterB&B

The attack will most likely lead to more support of queer people

Inger Kristin Haugsevje, leader of Oslo Pride and Inge Alexander Gjestvang, leader of the Norwegian LGBT+ organization FRI, say: 

"We are going to follow the recommendations of the Police and take care of each other. We will soon be proudly visible again, but today we will celebrate Pride from home."

As I reported in my article on the recent survey of Norwegian perceptions of queer and trans people, more than 60 percent report positive feelings about LGB people in Norway. Around five percent are negative. The similar numbers for trans people are around 50% (positive)  and a bit over 10% on the negative side. There is some variation as regards what kind of LGB and T people you are talking about.

These are in no way perfect scores, but it is worth noting that in spite of several years with aggressive anti-LGBT and anti-trans activism, the support for queer people has continued to increase, even during the recent years. 

A terrorist-attack against Oslo Pride fit well with the pattern of increased homphobic and transphobic activism, from right wing extremists on the one hand to "gender critical radical feminists" or TERFs on the other.

Indeed, this kind of activism has had a destructive effect on the lives of queer and trans people world wide. The recent Republican anti-LGBT legislation and harassment in states like Texas and Florida attests to this. Vladminir Putin's attack on queer people does the same. And this general increase in the volume of transphobia and homophobia has led to more bigots attacking queer people in, for instance, social media.

Historical experience (as from the Nazi takeover in Germany) indicates that this kind of hate propaganda may, over time, make people less sympathetic to marginalized groups.

In this case, however, I doubt very much that this attack will increase Norwegian negativity to queer people. Quite the opposite. 

The 2011 terrorist attack by the so-called "Christian Conservative" Fascist Anders Behring Breivik, created an outpour of support for those attacked and a consolidation of anti-racist and anti-Fascist attitudes in Norway. You might say it functioned as a kind of vaccine against the kind of ideas Breivik presented (which turned out to be very similar to the ones of Trump and Putin today).

The new attack will most likely create a new focus on the lives of queer and transgender people, and make it much harder for transphobes and homophobes to get away with anti-LGBTAQ arguments in the media.

Here in Oslo we will spend our day honoring the dead, and celebrating Pride, at home. But I know for a fact that queer people will be more visible than ever after this.

Aftenposten: Politiet: 42-åring siktet for drap og terror etter masseskyting
Aftenposten: Oslo Pride avlyses etter råd fra politiet
NRK: Skyting ved utested i Oslo sentrum – etterforskes som terror

Photo: S


  1. At least the police acted in a timely manner and accepted assistance from citizens on the scene. This is the opposite of what happens in the U.S. when there is a mass shooting. At the recent school shooting in Texas, the police arrived within minutes but stood around for and hour and a half before a border patrol unit came and took out the shooter. In the mean time, the police on the scene spent their time preventing parents from going to the aid of their children who were being murdered. Bureaucrats with guns.

  2. Yes, it seems to me the Police did their job in a good way. And the Norwegian police is for the most part LGBTQA-friendly.

  3. It seems inevitable that even in more enlightened countries like Norway there is going to be this last gasp violence by those who cannot abide by this type of social progress. The fringe right is going to ramp up attacks and we are seeing this play out with the recent supreme court rulings in the states. Theocratic totalitarianism isn't far away unless the people vote these fanatics out although harder to say than do with all the voter suppression.

    The world is very much still a screwed up place.


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