=sant (=true) is a street art project where the intention is to create awareness and normalize a non-heteronormative life and relationships. The sculptures are placed in public spaces and can be taken away by the audience and given another home; permanently or temporarily. I want to make =sant available to everyone, in cities and towns, regardless of background.
A woman is told she can’t possibly be a lesbian; she who is beautiful and feminine. A student becomes the mission and challenge of the opposite sex; who can make the queer straight? A male partner in an agency is hired as an ornament for equality and his competence remains unused and meaningless. A same-sex couple is told that they are accepted, but it’s not normal…biologically speaking. A female same-sex couple are being objectified and invited to a threesome with the opposite sex.
All of these stories and many more is the everyday reality of LGBTQ individuals.
Discrimination exists and is constantly taking on new ways of being. Maybe it’s small occurrences in our everyday life which have no big impact when it’s standing alone, but together constitute a strong feeling of being discriminated against. Or perhaps it’s a behavior that’s so common that we have stopped noticing it, just the slight uncomfortable, indefinable feeling it creates.
During World War II, the Germans labeled gay men with a pink triangle and the ‘anti-socials’ such as lesbians and transgender people with a black triangle. The intention was to carry a symbol of shame and be suppressed.
In Norway today, we are no longer criminalized, no longer categorized as mentally ill, no longer treated with psychiatric torture. In Norway today, everyone has the same age of consent, we can get married on nearly the same premises as a straight couple, and we appear to have the same rights as heterosexuals. As a paradox, ‘jævla homo’ (fucking gay), is the most common abuse used in our schoolyards and has been so for a long time.
Although it’s said that it’s never been as easy as now; to accept oneself; to ‘come out’ and live as a queer person – the living condition surveys show that it’s not all that easy after all. It can be said that it’s a small miracle that we at all survive our LGBTQ identity and have the ability to build up the courage to ‘come out’ when one thinks about all of the different heteronormative methods of oppression that one faces every day.
In the 1970’s, Kim Friele, Norway’s greatest LGBTQ activist, performed a survey among neurologists, psychologists and psychiatrists where patients expressed the pressure and prejudices of the society as a root cause of an unsatisfying, complicated and blunt lives. It is so that it’s not the identity, but the attitude of society (homophobia, prejudice, aversion) that drives some of us to anxiety, self-harm and a life characterized by living in hiding.
HEGEH believes that Norway’s LGBTQ must grow up believing, striving for and excepting a society of true equality. A society that does not try to change anyone. LGBTQ individuals in Norway must feel that they belong to the Norwegian society on an equal level as the heterosexuals; that our feelings aer just as real, and that we are also smart enough to be competent leaders. And what’s so important now; to be clear about that abuse amongst LGBTQ is not acceptable, no matter what environment you grow up in. That you shall feel safe wherever you are, and that this is a right, not a privilege. A right that is respected by a society that honors equality. And at one point or another, if a person experiences their rights being violated, then the entire community feels violated.
Not everyone has a workplace, school or a family who puts gender equality on the agenda or know of any individual who breaks the gender and sexuality norms. Not everyone recognizes this everyday discrimination because it is so expected and normalized, including the queers.
HEGEH - Artist - Norway