Norwegian Culture Scene in support of Papillon and our Trans community



This statement of support was collectively written and signed by cultural workers and cultural organisations in Bergen and Norway. The text and the initiative belong to the community. The statement was signed by 250 cultural workers and 40 culture organisations before being published at

As independent cultural workers and art organisations in Bergen and Norway, we express our public support to Papillon and our trans and queer colleagues, collaborators and audiences. This is in light of the recent verdict from Bergen District Court regarding the termination of employment of a staff member at Papillon.

Papillon’s Leader of Strategy and Economy was dismissed from her job in March 2022, based on the assertion that her prolific activity on social media, targeting and disseminating inflammatory material about transgender people was damaging to the reputation of Papillon as an organisation. Papillon maintained that their colleague’s statements in the public sphere were contrary to the organisation’s work supporting young people from a variety of marginalised identities. However, Bergen District Court concluded earlier this week that the dismissal was invalid.

Whilst the court case’s remit was primarily around matters of employment law, this case brought to light a wealth of harmful public statements demonising and dehumanising trans-people, framed as free speech debate about gender and health. We believe strongly that trans people’s rights to exist as human beings is not up for debate and that this rhetoric, which was echoed through the reporting of the case across Norwegian media outlets, is damaging to real lives and to our democratic society. 

Victory in this case against Papillon is not a victory for freedom of speech. As a society we have a responsibility to distinguish between freedom of speech and hate speech. While freedom to share knowledge and opinions opens up a space for new thinking, imagining and understanding, hate speech oppresses and dehumanises people, who are often already marginalised and vulnerable. Freedom of speech is an important value and right in democratic societies but should not be used as a tool or excuse to oppress or exclude others. Freedom of expression, as outlined in the UN Human Rights Act, is limited by a duty to behave responsibly and to respect other people’s rights. The latter includes the legal rights of transgender people to participate fully in society and to express themselves in the public sphere. 

The verdict given by Bergen District Court states clearly that the social media activity of the Leader of Strategy and Economy would be directly devastating to Papillion’s vital and necessary work with people with marginalised identities and was not aligned with the intersectional work and purpose of the organisation. 

As one of few grassroots organisations founded and led by women of colour in Norway, Papillon does brave work fighting discrimination, division and violence in our society, and we stand with them at this crucial time. As a direct result of this verdict, the future of Papillon is now under threat, which will have far reaching consequences for the communities that Papillion works with and the whole of Bergen’s cultural environment, as it strives to uphold diversity, criticality and inclusion.

As art and culture workers occupying the frontline of advocating for freedom of speech, we support and promote decisions and actions that protect, empower and encourage every person’s access to exercise their rights for life, self-determination and expression in the public sphere, regardless of their gender, sexuality, race, class or nationality. 

The verdict given by Bergen District Court must not be mistaken as permission to propagate fear, disinformation and hatred against the transgender community, and we must fight against normalising oppressive language directed towards transgender people in the public sphere, both online and in real life. We ask our politicians, the media and legal institutions to act responsibly and not look the other way as these dangerous and violent narratives cause real harm to the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society and become tacitly accepted in our everyday.

Signed by organisations:

After School Special
Aldea Center for Contemporary Art, Design and Technology
Anna & Morf AS
BEK – Bergen senter for elektronisk kunst
Bergen Art Book Fair
Bergen Assembly 
Bergen Kjøtt
BIT Teatergarasjen
Borealis – en festival for eksperimentell musikk
Comrades Inc
DOT, Ida Nerbø
Drastic Social
Emne Studio
Foreningen Jung
Hordaland kunstsenter
Ideophone Records 
ImproLaBergen, Malin Nøss Vangsnes
Isotop Fellesatelier, board leader Alex Hamish Millar
K4 Gallery, Hedda Grevle Ottesen
Konsept X
Kunsthall Oslo
M+I a/s
Northing Space
Nuts And Bolts, artistic director Jessica Sligter
Playdate Bergen
PODIUM Oslo, Hedda Grevle Ottesen
Radio Multe 93,8 FM
Reclaim Pride Bergen
Salam Islamsk Senter
S12 Galleri og Verksted
Tag Team Studio
UKS – Unge Kunstneres Samfund, Steffen Håndlykken and Miriam Wistreich
Vers Libre

Signed by individuals:

Abigael Asgedom, employee at Borealis – a festival for experimental music
Abirami Logendran
Ada Miko
Adele Seip, artist
Agnes Hvizdalek, musician and composer
Aida Liliana LiPera, programme director and leader of Cinemateket i Bergen
Aiste Zumbakyte, producer
Aksel Røed, musician, composer and concert organiser
Aleidis Skua
Alex Hamish Millar, board leader Isotop
Alicia Marchong Eidesund, film worker in Alicia Casting
Alwynne Pritchard, artist
Amber Ablett
Amina Reikvam, film worker
Anadra Serné
Anahita Alebouyeh, visual artist
Andrea Urstad Toft, artist
Andreas Kühne, multimedia artist and doctoral research fellow UiT
Andreas Søfteland Milde, filmmaker
Anette Grindheim, cultural worker
Anita Vedå, director Smau media
Ann-Kristin Stølan, Pamflett / Bergen Art Book Fair
Annabelle Bonnéry
Anne Szefer Karlsen, professor of curatorial practice, Fakultet for kunst, musikk og design, Universitetet i Bergen
Anne-Liis Kogan, artist
Annette Gellein, artist
Annie Biernith Sørvig
Ase Brunborg Lie, artist
Aslak Bjørge Hermstad, composer
Astrid Helen Windingstad, editor CAS – Contemporary Art Stavanger
Aurora Solberg, visual artist
Axel Wieder, director Bergen Kunsthall
Ben Wenhou Yu, Northing Space
Bergljot Jonsdottir, director S12 Galleri og Verksted
Bertha Chan Hiu Yau, founder of Drastic Social
Bjørnar Habbestad, musician and curator
Brita Urstad Toft, musician
Camila Figueroa, spatial designer
Camilla Hermansen, Emne Studio
Carol Stampone, writer, philosopher and artist
Caroline Eckly
Cassandra Moldenhauer
Cecilie Størkson
Chris Stavaas
Corrina Thornton, artist and assistant professor, KMD
Craig Farr, musician and composer
Daisuke Kosugi, artist
Dan Brown Brønlund
Daniel Mariblanca, 71BODIES
Daniela Ramos Arias, curator
David Alræk, film maker
Derek Sargent, artist
Didrik Røberg, designer
Dipha Thiruchelvam, musician
Eira Søyseth, poet and literature worker
Eirik Marinius Sandvik, musician and producer
Eleni Ieremia, artist
Eli Mai Huang Nesse
Elin Már Øyen Vister, Foreninga Røst AiR
Elina Waage Mikalsen, artist and musician
Eline Rafteseth, musician
Elise Sæle Dahle, board leader of Borealis, grunder and sustainability advocate
Else Olsen S., artist
Embla Karidotter, musician and employee at Cinemateket i Bergen
Emilie Wright
Emilio Sanhueza
Erik Friis Reitan, visual artist
Espen Cook, founder of Club Kowloon, DJ/artist
Espen Iden, artist
Espen Tennebekk, designer
Eva Rowson, managing director of Bergen Kjøtt
Fergus Tibbs, artist
Finn Adrian Jorkjen, visual artist
Francesca Scapinello
Fraser Keddie
Freya Coursey
Frida Vikström, student at KMD
Gabriel Johann Kvendseth, visual artist
Girson Dias, musician, organiser and label manager
Guro Vrålstad, producer
Hanan Benammar, artist
Håvard Thomassen
Helen Eriksen
Helle Siljeholm, artist
Henriette Pedersen, artistic director Nartmanstiftelsen
Henrik Koppen, artist
Henrik Skauge, musician and technician
Herman Torgrimsønn Johansen, cultural worker
Hilde Annine Hasselberg, musician
Ida Skogstad, architect
Idun Vik, Cornerstone and Bergen Dramatikkfestival
Ingebjørg Nyhammer, designer
Ingrid Frivold, musician and composer
Ingrid Haug Erstad, Bergen Assembly
Ingrid Moe
Ingrid Ormevik, Queer Fashion of Scandinavia
Ingrid Vigerust Kallestad, writer and artist
Ingvill Kjærstein
Inish Hedén Næss
Irem Müftüoglu, employee at Borealis – a festival for experimental music
Irene Bjørke, sound technician
Isabel Engelsen Fox, artist
Isak Bradley
Itzel Esquivel, curator
Jack O’Flynn, artist
Jacob Lysgaard, artist
Jan van der Vlist
Jane Bjørnstad, photo/videographer
Janneke Flem
Jennifer Torrence, musician
Jenny Berger Myhre, board leader Konsertforeninga
Jenny Kinge
Jenny Sandmo Ellefsen, Haus of Friele
Jiska Huizing
Joar Nango, spatial poet
Johanne Ø. Danielsen
Julie Silset
Kaeto Sweeney, ASTERISK
Karen Werner, artist and PhD Artistic Research fellow, Fakultet for kunst, musikk og design, University of Bergen
Kari Brandtzæg
Karina Sletten, artist
Karoline Skuseth, BIT Teatergarasjen
Katarina Isaksen, leader of Bergen Sameforening
Katarina Kierulf, architect
Katrine Elise Agpalza Pedersen, Kunsthall Trondheim
Kim Diaz Holm, artist
Kiyoshi Yamamoto, artist
Kjersti Helen Rasmussen, writer/director
Kristen Keegan, visual artist
Kristin Tårnesvik, visual artist
Kristoffer Sagmo Aalberg, actor
Lars Holdhus, artist
Lars Korff Lofthus, visual artist
Lars Ove Toft, director of Proscen – produsentenhet for scenekunst
Lars Sture
Lars-Andreas Forthun, sound technician and technical manager at Kulturhuset Østre
Laura Cæcilie Busk Andersen
Laurie Lax, artist
Lene Anette J. Kolltveit, organiser and producer
Leo Preston, artist and cultural worker
Liisa-Ravna Finbog, post-doctoral researcher, Tampere University
Lillian Santos Herberg, Upstage AS
Line Jensen
Lisa Colette Bysheim, dance artist
Liv Astrid Kvammen Svaleng, Saviomusea
Liv Brissach, freelance curator and writer
Lona Korjenic-Hansen
Luke Drozd
Magdaléna Manderlová
Magnhild Øen Nordahl, visual artist
Maia Urstad, sound artist
Maike Statz, NOGOODS
Malene Monslaup, acoustician and dj
Mari Garcés, musician
Mari Sivertsen Norddahl
Maria Helena Konttinen Nerhus, architect and visual artist
Maria Rusinovskaya, director BEK
Marie Storaas, artist
Marie Vallestad, Tag Team Radio
Mario Urban Mannsåker, OK Kontor
Marius Bakke, artist and freelance technician
Marjolein Roozen, Clothing Swap Bergen
Marthe Serck-Hanssen, producer, freelancer and cultural worker
Martin Midtbø Rokkones, cultural worker
Martin Stanger, music producer
Mathijs van Geest, director Hordaland kunstsenter
Mathilde Orlien
Matias Frøysaa, artist
Maya Økland, artist
Mei Szetu, cultural worker
Michelle Odette Iversen Badiane, cultural worker
Miki Gebrelul, head of exhibitions at Fotogalleriet
Mila Elisabeth Larvoll, artist
Miriam Wistreich, director UKS
Monica Santos Herberg, Upstage AS
Morten Kippe, performing arts producer
Morten Kvamme, artist, Tag Team Studio
Morten Norbye Halvorsen, visual artist
Morten Slingsby, artist
Nayara Leite
Newt Petride, poet and counselor of queer women and trans people with minority backgrounds
Nora Adwan, visual artist
Nora-Swantje Almes, Live Programme Curator at Bergen Kunsthall
Oda Bremnes, artist
Oda F. Braanaas, sound technician, musician and social worker
Ola Lysgaard, artist
Owen Weaver, artist
Øyunn Viken
Patricia Sichmanova, glass artist
Peder Niilas Tårnesvik, artist
Pedro Gomez-Egana, board leader Kunstnernes Hus, professor at Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo
Peter Meanwell, artistic director Borealis – a festival for experimental music
Piniel Demisse, co-founder of ASSATA
Polina Medvedeva, artist
Rakel Anna Kristjansdottir, musician
Randi Grov Berger, Entrée galleri
Renate Synnes Handal
Ruby Eleftheriotis, curator and writer
Runa Halleraker, artist, communication assistant for Borealis – a festival for experimental music
Said Warya, artist
Sara Lindberg Hansen, artist, technician and member of After School Special and OVE galleri
Scott Elliot, editor of Coda Press and Director of Weekend Server
Sigurd Aas Hansen, visual artist
Sigurd Fischer Olsen, composer
Siv Støldal, designer
Siv Torin K. Petersen, actor and musician
Sofia Marie Hamnes, Live Program Producer at Bergen Kunsthall
Sofie B. Ringstad, artist manager
Sofie Hviid Vinther
Solveig Granberg, visual artist
Sondre Pettersen,  musician, composer and teacher
Stacy Brafield, artist
Steffen Håndlykken, board leader UKS
Stian Økland, musician
Stine Aas, designer
Sumaya Jirde Ali
Susanne Xin, musician and composer
Sverre Vik, artist and festival booker
Tanya Busse, artist
Tatiana Lozano at Palmera
Tatjana Kolpus, cultural worker and political adviser for Sámeálbmot Bellodat / Samefolkets Parti
Thanee Andino, KMD university lector and designer
Tine Adler, visual artist and techician
Tine Rude
Tine Semb, Karmaklubb*
Tobias Kvendseth, musician and artist
Tonje Waldersnes
Tor Steffen Espedal, Bergen Assembly
Tora Söderström Gaden, music therapist
Toril Johannessen, visual artist
Torleif Bay
Trine Gabrielsen, AKKS Bergen
Vera Gomes, designer and visual artist
Vera Lunde, Emne Studio
Vilde Salhus Røed, artist
Vilde Tuv, musician
Vivill Talsnes, Flokk film
Vsevolod Kovalevskij, artist
Yilei Wang, Northing Space
Ylva Teigen Aas, student at KMD
Æsa Björk, visual artist
Åse Løvgren, visual artist
Åsne Hagen