Kim Friele

Article

December 7, 2021

Karen Christine "Kim" Friele (Fana, Bergen; May 27, 1935 - November 22, 2021) [1] [2] was a Norwegian LGBT and human rights activist, famous for being the first Norwegian to recognize publicly and defend their sexual orientation. She was the leader of the organization —initially secret— Forbundet from 1948 between 1966 and 1971, and later general secretary until 1989. [3] [4]

Biography

Friele's birth name was Karen-Christine Wilhelmsen, born in Fana (Norway). She studied at Cambridge University and worked from 1958 to 1971 in an insurance information office. She was briefly married to a childhood friend, Ole Friele, from 1959 to 1961. [5] In Norway, Friele is believed to have had a major influence in abolishing the criminalization of homosexuality in 1972 and declassifying homosexuality as a psychiatric illness in 1978. Friele and Wenche Lowzow, a well-known Conservative Party politician, were among the first to formalize their relationship when same-sex unions were allowed in 1993. [6] She wrote several books on human and LGBT rights, beginning in 1972. In 2000, Friele was appointed a Knight of the First Order of the Order of Saint Olaf. [7] A bust of her was unveiled in front of Oslo City Hall in 2005 and is now located in the main headquarters of the Oslo Public Library. In 2005 she was named the fourth most important Norwegian of the century in a public vote by NRK. [8] The Norwegian government awarded her a scholarship - in Norwegian, statsstipendiat - and she lived in Haugastøl (Norway) until her death.

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External Links

Wikimedia Commons hosts a multimedia category on Kim Friele.

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