Karen-Christine Friele (born Wilhelmsen; 27 May 1935, died 22 November 2021), known as Kim Friele, was a Norwegian author and activist who for many years worked for gay rights. She grew up in the former Fana municipality, and lived in Geilo until the end of her life.
Life and work
Friele studied languages at the University of Cambridge and worked from 1958 to 1971 as a secretary at the Information Office for Insurance in Oslo. On August 8, 1959, she married lawyer Ole Friele. They divorced in 1961. In Oslo, Friele became part of the then very closed gay organization The Norwegian Association of 1948, where she was leader in the period 1966–1971, and employed as general secretary until 1989. Friele's work was a strong contributor to Section 213 of the Penal Code, which criminalized homosexual acts between men, was repealed in 1972, "homosexuality" was abolished as a psychiatric diagnosis in 1978, and Norway in 1981 extended the sections of the Penal Code against racism (§§ 135a and 349a) to also apply to discrimination in connection with sexual orientation.
When Norway introduced legislation in 1993 that regulated registered partnerships for people of the same sex, Friele and her partner for many years, Wenche Lowzow, was one of the first couples to enter into a partnership. Lowzow died on September 24, 2016.
Art and honors
Friele received the Fritt Ord award in 1978, based on "her efforts to create an understanding of the gay situation". In 2009, however, Friele returned the prize, in protest against the philosopher Nina Karin Monsen being awarded this year's prize. Friele also referred to the prize money as the "Judas money". On June 22, 2005, in connection with the Europride festival, a bust of her was unveiled at the Town Hall Square in Oslo. The bust was made by the sculptor Nina Sundbye, and it is placed inside the Deichman Library. Kim Friele was appointed an honorary member of the Labor Party on 28 March 2008. "You have made Norway a more decent society," said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in his speech of thanks.
In the NRK program Faktasjekken, the book Troll skal temmes by members of the Norwegian non-fiction writers 'and translators' association was named the third best Norwegian non-fiction book published after 1945 in the biography category. Friele was honored with a funeral at the state's expense. She was buried on December 6, 2021 from Oslo Cathedral. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre gave a speech. Queen Sonja, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Minister of Culture Anette Trettebergstuen were present.
1972 - Homofili
1975 - From oppression to rebellion. About being gay - and being happy about it
1980 - Gay liberation - your responsibility!
1985 - they just disappeared… Fragments of gay history
1990 - Trolls must be tamed
1995 - Prisoners with pink triangle - never again?
Prizes and awards
1978 - Fritt Ord Prize (Friele returned the prize in 2009)
1989 - appointed State Fellow
1994 - The Gay Movement's Honorary Award
1999 - Humanist Prize
2000 - Knight of the 1st class of the Order of St. Olav for his long efforts for gay rights.
2005 - Shared fourth place in the selection of the Norwegian of the Century
2008 - Honorary member of the Labor Party
Olsen, Bjørn Gunnar (1983). Two women. Atheneum. ISBN 8273340015.
(en) Kim Friele - category of images, video or audio on Commons
(en) Kim Friele on the Internet Movie Database
(nb) Kim Friele - Biography at NRK on the occasion of the Norwegian of the Century (Archived)
(nb) Skewed, old lady - Article about Friele in Dagbladet
(nb) § Homohistorie Homohistorisk overview, written by Friele and Håkon Haugli, Homonettverket i Arbeiderpartiet (Archived)
(nn) The gay movement in Norway at Store norske leksikon
(nb) - I do not like the word tolerance. Acceptance is what counts - Interview with Friele in Dagsavisen
(nb) Memorial page for Kim Friele - Visit the memorial page for Kim Friele (Jølstad Begravelsesbyrå)