Arrived in Oslo, in a brand new Norwegian airplane. It was great to see all that snow, Brighton never sees any. Before I leave, I want to have a run through it. We got to the hotel and had a quick turnaround and had our first visit, which was at the Norwegian Parliament.

We were greeted by Jon Reidar Øyan, the leader of the LGBT network of the Labour Party. He took us to meet Hadja Tajik, the deputy leader of the Labour Party. I had a nice chat about my Pride Families campaign, and I learned about the differences and the similarities between our two countries.

I always knew that the Scandinavian countries were forward thinking and were always first with same sex marriage and adoption. However, I found the difference was that in UK we allow single parent adoption and within our trans community too. What I was impressed with was that if a child is in need we would take them out of the family situation and into care. Where here in Norway the child is put within their connected family like an aunt or an uncle. Which I think is a fantastic idea so the child doesn’t feel in a strange environment and can stay within their family unit.

We then had a fantastic tour around the parliament building and I found the rooms inside to be very impressive. As I have just finished both series of The Crown on Netflix I’m incredibly fascinated about the royal family and English parliament and their connection. So this tour was very interesting and knowledgeable.

After my private tour and meeting some heads of Parliament, the actual President of the Parliament walked past me. I wanted a selfie but I thought it was a bit much to ask haha.. I was then taken into the canteen area where I was told the appropriate place to sit depending on which party you represented. It was great to speak to Jon as I learnt so much about what he has achieved within the LGBT sector in Norway.

I feel very honoured to have been invited to Parliament today as an openly gay man, as we need to remember there are so many countries in the world where it is still illegal, or where they face the death penalty for just being gay.

– Matt

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