Coronary restrictions make this year’s Pride parade in Oslo smaller than usual. Eirik Kristoffersen is Norway’s first Chief of Defense to participate: – Next year I hope we are many hundreds.
Many spectators with rainbow flags had gathered along Karl Johans gate on Saturday to attend this year’s Pride parade. Among those who participated in the parade was Norway’s Chief of Defense Eirik Kristoffersen. He thinks it is important to show that the Armed Forces supports diversity and inclusion.
– The only thing missing is that people can stand out as they are and not feel any pressure to keep it hidden. Also in the Armed Forces, says Kristoffersen.
– Several disagreed that I participated, I do not stand for that
This year’s parade was also streamed digitally, with several features from guests in addition to video of the cars that carried the parade through central Oslo.
Due to the corona situation, not everyone who wanted to participated in the parade, which traditionally starts in Greenland in Oslo on the last Saturday in June. Until next year, the chief of defense hopes that they can provide manpower. He has received feedback from several in the Armed Forces who wish they could participate in the celebration.
– We set our values as the top priority in the Armed Forces. Those values are respect, responsibility and courage. Then we must have respect for the fact that people are people, and that they have the courage to speak out, says Kristoffersen.
Chief of Defense General Eirik Kristoffersen participates in the Pride Parade in central Oslo on Saturday.
1 of 8Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB
For the Chief of Defense, it was a matter of course to participate in the celebration. Despite the fact that he has received feedback that not everyone thinks the Armed Forces should participate. He disagrees.
– Several disagreed that I participated, I do not stand for that. The least I can do as Chief of Defense is to show that there are different people behind the uniform.
Was well received
In addition to the street parade, a boat parade was also held with rainbow-decorated boats in the inner Oslofjord. It started at Kongen, went around Hovedøya, Bleikøya, past Sørenga, Rådhusplassen, Tjuvholmen and back to Kongen.
Kristoffersen feels that the Armed Forces has come a long way when it comes to including people with different orientations and identities. This was not the case when he started in 1988. Those who now stand out are usually well received, he believes.
– But many are reluctant to stand up despite the fact that we have arrived in 2021, and then I have to show that it is ok.
The Armed Forces’ participation was also appreciated by the audience and the others who participated in the celebration.
– I received a lot of invitations to the party from the participants after the parade. But I think I will end the evening with football, he concludes.