“”Stop heresy in primary schools, girls and women don't have penises
|—Slogan concocted by Anne Kalvig for use on women's day in 2021|
|—Feminist scholar Elisabeth Lund Engebretsen on Anne Kalvig's transphobia|
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Anne Kalvig (born 1972) is a Norwegian trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF), Internet troll, former Maoist politician, conspiracy theorist and professor of religious studies best known for her transphobic activism and for her attacks on "gender ideology". She is one of the principal founders and leaders (currently the vice chair) of the Norwegian branch of the deceptively named "Women's Human Rights Campaign" (WHRC), a transphobic hate group founded by Sheila Jeffreys. WHRC has notably been described as a hate group by Norway's main LGBT rights group FRI. The group is known in Norway for its seemingly WBC-inspired slogans such as "Stop heresy in primary schools, girls and women don't have penises." Along with other WHRC members she is also very active in anti-LGBT trolling on social media. She is a full professor at the University of Stavanger. Ironically for someone who is herself involved with a hate-peddling cult, she has an interest in new religious movements. She is disgruntled with her former party, the maoist Red (formerly the Red Electoral Alliance), due to their opposition to transphobia and TERFs. All the same, she regards herself as an uncompromising hard-left radical feminist while in fact promoting anti-feminist reactionary bigotry and allying herself with the far right to attack the basic tenets of feminism and human decency. She is a close collaborator of fellow transphobe Tonje Gjevjon.
She was formerly a member of the radfem group Kvinnefronten (Women's Front), but later defected to the even more radical Kvinnegruppa Ottar (Women's Group Ottar); both groups are known to be TERF-leaning at least to a degree. She was the leader of Kvinnefronten in Stavanger, one of Norway's main cities, around 2004. She then was the leader of Kvinnegruppa Ottar in Stavanger around 2011. Apparently no longer considering Kvinnegruppa Ottar radical enough, she has reportedly left the group.
In 2020 she was, along with Tonje Gjevjon and Kari Jaquesson, a principal founder of the Norwegian branch of the notorious transphobic hate group, the "Women's Human Rights Campaign" (WHRC). Despite its name, WHRC is an overt anti-feminist group that focuses exclusively on anti-trans activism. It is notable for disingenuously hiding behind the language of "human rights" to promote transparent transphobia and for its collaboration with the far-right in its opposition to trans rights.
Kalvig is officially the vice chair of the Women's Human Rights Campaign Norway, although she may be its de facto leader. The group came to prominence in Norway through its use of Fred Phelps-sounding slogans such as "stop heresy in primary schools, girls and women don't have penises" and "only women are women" on international women's day in 2021. She is listed as the second signatory, after Tonje Gjevjon, of its founding document, a rambling transphobic manifesto focused on denying the reality of trans existence.
Alignment with the far right
WHRC Norway has actively embraced cooperation with the far right against trans people. The group has widely shared and promoted the "Super Straight" meme, a troll campaign started by neo-Nazi agitators on 4chan to invalidate and mock trans people's gender identities; its members have widely shared or referenced the meme on Twitter, and the group references the meme on its website and even in its e-mail address ("super"). The group has close links to the conspiracist website Steigan.no and to the prominent Holocaust denier Hans Olav Brendberg, with most of the leadership of the group sharing a Facebook post by Brendberg gloating over the collaboration between TERFs and the religious right against trans people, while posing with a well-known symbol of Holocaust denial ("Shoananas"). The group frequently also shares scaremongering stories from other right-wing sources such as The Post Millennial. The group has bizarrely claimed that the main function of Norway's equality ombudsperson Hanne Bjurstrøm is to "discriminate against women," due to her enforcement of legal protections for LGBT people. WHRC has also accused Norway's main LGBT rights organization FRI of being a "government-funded fantasy machine" dedicated to "spreading lies". Apparently longing for "true" conservatives like Viktor Orbán, WHRC has claimed that the very "worst thing about Norway" is that Norwegian conservatives are LGBT-friendly.
Further illustrating the convergence of the far right and the far left, the far-right anti-immigrant website Document.no, owned by Hans Rustad and best known for inspiring Anders Behring Breivik, published an article praising WHRC and gleefully noting how the anti-trans views of TERFs and the far right aligned. Rustad is the father of Kalvig's fellow TERF and WHRC co-founder Oline Rustad, and himself made a rather similar ideological journey from maoism to wingnut bigotry and Islamophobia.
|—Anne Kalvig doesn't understand why WHRC's nakedly hateful rhetoric is considered criminal hate speech|
Like other TERFs Kalvig deliberately conflates her transphobic views with feminism, ignoring the fact that Norwegian feminists have widely condemned the transphobia she espouses as anti-feminist. In March 2020, 2,500 progressive Norwegian feminists signed a condemnation of WHRC's transphobia. In connection with women's day in 2021 WHRC was widely condemned by actual feminists for its disruption of the meeting planning that year's event, where WHRC members engaged in transphobic rants and proposed hideously transphobic slogans. Alberte Bekkhus, the leader of the Red Youth (the youth wing of Kalvig's own, now former party), said WHRC's transphobia hinders the feminist struggle and that transphobes like Kalvig aren't feminists. The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud has also robustly condemned the transphobia promoted by Kalvig and other WHRC trolls in social media.
In response to an article by Kalvig claiming that "the Criminal Code, the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud and a whole range of other representatives of the kweer patriarchy attempt to silence us," the feminist scholar Elisabeth Lund Engebretsen, who works at Kalvig's own university, wrote that "it is no longer necessary to focus exclusively on other countries like Poland and Hungary in discussions about the extent of anti-feminism and the anti-LGBT movement in our time. There are countless examples (...) of this ideology in Norway, unfortunately also at my university."
She has also been a politician for the maoist Red Electoral Alliance, which she represented in Stavanger's city council from 2003 to 2005, but like other TERFs she is now disgruntled with the party, which has taken a firm stance against transphobia and TERFs.
- Wikipedia article (in Norwegian)
- "Slår tilbake mot anklagene om å være hatefull mot transkvinner" [Hits back against accusations of being hateful towards trans women] Klassekampen 12 February 2021, p. 8
- Elisabeth Lund Engebretsen on Anne Kalvig's transphobia
- Christina Ellingsen: "Is safeguarding our children from sex groups a hate crime?" [Warning: Hate website] ("This week the leader of the Women’s Human Rights Campaign in Norway (WHRC) found herself at the main police station in Oslo after being accused of a hate crime")
- University of Stavanger
- The Unholy Alliance of Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists and the Right Wing, Jezebel
- Anne Kathrine Kalvig
- Signatories of the anti-trans manifesto of the "Women's Human Rights Campaign"
- Reddit finally clamps down on transphobic ‘super straight’ trend after neo-Nazi links emerge
- The 'super straight' campaign taking over TikTok is actually just ugly transphobic trolling
- On Norwegian TERF retweeting Nazi meme
- Tweet by Norwegian TERF Tonje Gjevjon
- Facebook post by Hans Olav Brendberg gloating over the collaboration between TERFs and the religious right against trans people, liked and shared by most of the leadership of WHRC Norway
- Tweet by Women's Human Rights Campaign Norge
- WHRC on the equality ombud "discriminating against women" by enforcing legal protections for LGBT people
- Tweet of 27 March 2021
- WHRC on "the worst thing about Norway" being conservatives' LGBT-friendly views
- "Svensk feminist: Kvinner taper på at kjønn relativiseres". Document.no, 31 March 2021 [link to extremist website deliberately ommitted]
- Opprop for inkluderende kvinnekamp
- Alberte Bekkhus: Transfobi hindrer kvinnekampen [Transphobia hinders the feminist struggle]
- Ulike meninger er OK, å spre transhat er forbudt, Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud
- Transdebatten: – Transfobi hindrer kvinnekampen
- The Secret Internet of TERFs, The Atlantic