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The sense of Norway for unusual sexualities

A few days ago I attended the LGBTQ+ Tourism European Estates General, an event with very important implications punctually ignored by the hordes of “activists” who claim to be oh so committed to the advancement of equality rights. Too bad for them, because they would have discovered that in October 2022 Milan will become the world capital of tourism for people with non-normative preferences, with numerous institutional activities, events and so on.

This is no small news, both because it translates into a powerful and providential economic boost, and because it involves a real thought revolution. Case in point: the launch of the QueerVadis Protocol, an official certification of LGBTQ+ friendly accommodations. Or, in simple words: «dear hotelier/restaurateur/service provider/territorial entity, if you want to earn a part of the 195 billion euros being moved every year by this kind of clientele, you have to adapt. You can no longer discriminate against anyone, neither among your guests nor among your staff, you must adopt a code of ethics suitable for this century and take a formal stand. If not, all those people and money will go elsewhere.»
History teaches that progress is driven more by wallets than by street protests or political posturing. Bet you that “lifelong” supporters of rainbow flags will suddenly pop up everywhere?

The event provided me with a lot of other material to think about, including the realization by all the participants that the ‘LGBTQ+’ acronym is just plain ugly, and maybe it’s time to simplify everything to ‘plus’, which is far more pronounceable. But, above all else, I was struck by a truly memorable moment.

Representatives of several countries came on stage, and one after the other they praised how “plus-friendly” their countries were – sometimes slipping into delicious lapses of verbal discrimination – and what initiatives they organize for LGBTwhatever tourists.
Eventually it was Norway’s turn to declare, with a touch of embarrassment: «Um… We actually don’t have a tourism policy for people like that… Because they are simply people like any other, and we treat everyone the same». I’m sorry to say that there was much less applause and blushing in the room than one would have expected.

As the years go by, I have grown increasingly impatient with labels, especially when they are improperly applied. This is the case of “unusual” sexualities, which are not very unusual and represent only one of the many aspects of the normal human condition. It is one thing to give a precise name to certain preferences, just to understand each other more easily, but to reduce the complexity of a person to their erotic tastes to the point of making it their entire identity is frighteningly stupid.

It’s obvious that feeding the «we are different than you» narrative is very convenient for unscrupulous people of all factions, as is the «you’re not a true [insert random label] if you don’t conform to the standards I’ve decided» argument. On rare occasions, as in the case of the certification mentioned earlier, it can even lead to positive developments for everyone. However, attending that panel discussion made me very much want to move to Norway, where hotels and resorts are welcoming to everyone instead of specific categories of people, and where everyone, from the hairdresser to the reindeer salami seller, considers you first and foremost a person instead of “a gay man”, “a woman”, “a BDSM practitioner” or other labels we would do well to forget – even for ourselves.

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