Karen-Christine Friele

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Kim Friele (2009)

Karen Christine ("Kim") Friele (born 27 May 1935) is a Norwegian gay rights and human rights activist, famous for being the first Norwegian to publicly acknowledge and advocate for her sexuality, in June 1965. She acted as the leader for the previously secret organization Forbundet av 1948 between 1966 and 1971, and as its secretary general until 1989.[1][2]

Friele was born Karen-Christine Wilhelmsen in Fana in Bergen, Norway. She attended the University of Cambridge and was employed from 1958 to 1971 at the information office for insurance. She was briefly married to a childhood friend, Ole Friele, jr., from 1959 to 1961.

In Norway, Friele is credited for having influenced the abolishment of criminalization of homosexual acts in 1972 and for declassifying homosexuality as a psychiatric condition in 1978. She and Wenche Lowzow, a noted politician in the Conservative Party, were among the first to formalize their partnership when same-sex unions were allowed in 1993.

She has written several books on gay and human rights, her authorship starting in 1972.

In 2000 Friele was appointed a Knight 1st Class of the Order of St. Olav. A bust of her was unveiled in front of the Oslo City Hall in 2005, and is now placed at the main branch of the Oslo Public Library.

In 2005 she was proclaimed the fourth most important Norwegian of the century in a public vote through NRK.[3]

Friele is now appointed a government scholarship awardee (Norwegian: statsstipendiat) and lives in Haugastøl, Norway


  1. ^ Aldrich, Robert; Garry Wotherspoon (2001). Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History: From Antiquity to World War II. Lisbeth Nilsen. Routledge. pp. 149–150. ISBN 0-415-22974-X.
  2. ^ Nilsen, Lisbeth (2006-01-02). "Kim Friele" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on May 25, 2006. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
  3. ^ “Kim Friele”. Entry in Store norske leksikon
Preceded by
Henrik Groth
Recipient of the Fritt Ord Award
Succeeded by
Stein Mehren