Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Norway’s Haugar Vestfold Art Museum has banned a performance of ‘Vagina Anthem’ by lesbian artists The Hungry Hearts on the grounds that celebrating female anatomy is offensive to people with penises.

The Hungry Hearts is an eight member all-lesbian musical art group which has performed for over a decade at venues such as The Museum of Contemporary Art, Bergen Kunsthall, the Norwegian Opera and Ballet. Their performances, video installations, music, photographs and texts have been featured at over 50 international film festivals.

The Hungry Hearts

The group has released a statement:

“Hungry Hearts has been censored by the very curator inviting us to participate with art works and a performance at Haugar Vestfold kunstmuseum. We are not allowed to perform our new work “Vagina Anthem” as the curator fears that trans persons might be offended by the lyrics. Therefore, we decline to perform at all at the opening of the exhibition the 27th of January. As a reminder, our purpose with “Vagina Anthem” is the following (from the press release):

“Vagina Anthem” is a tribute to women. Hungry Hearts’ new single is about women in front. It is also a comment on the massive intolerance and attacks women are exposed to for exercising freedom of speech. It is for women who support the # Metoo campaign and to those who have been able to report abuse. It is for those who makes an effort to fight the battle against female erasure and oppression. And all the unknown heroines who have fought for women’s liberation throughout history. “Vagina Anthem” is an angry-fight-song for support when the mob is at its worst and gives extra energy to continue the fight. It’s not over.”


This is a continuation of an ongoing worldwide campaign by individuals with penises to censor all public mention of female bodies and the female sex, such as in news reporting and apportionment of women’s quotas and allotments.

The campaign to make the female sex unspeakable has particularly targeted lesbian filmmakers, authors, artists, and performers, with increasingly violent crusades by penis owners to ban works which center female bodied people. In 2016, a US male who had previously travelled cross-country to protest a lesbian gathering on private land went on to murder a lesbian couple and their son by beating, stabbing, shooting, and burning them. In 2017, a group of men attacked and beat a sixty-year-old woman in Speakers Point at UK’s Hyde Park because she planned to attend a discussion against proposed changes to eliminate the legal definition of female sex.

Here is the censored work, ‘Vagina Anthem’ by The Hungry Hearts:

Ironically, the Haugar Vestfold Art Museum is perhaps best known for their long running permanent exhibition celebrating the graphic and brutally misogynist work of painter Odd Nerdrum.

‘Pissing Woman’ by Odd Nerdrum

Self Portrait: Odd Nerdrum


In 2014, I asked San Francisco Health Commissioner (2012-present) Cecilia C. Chung for data on HIV transmission rates among transmen who identify as gay men. Cecilia Chung is regarded by many as the national authority on HIV/AIDS in the transgender community. Chung responded to my inquiry by passive-aggressively sending me a link to a list of all the demographic studies hosted by the San Francisco Department of Public Health website under ‘HIV /AIDS Programs and Research’.

By reviewing these studies I discovered that since 1996 the San Francisco Department of Public Health had been reclassifying all Transmen (Females who identify as male) diagnosed with HIV as Transwomen (Males who identify as female) for statistical purposes. When I pointed this out to Chung he refused to respond. Only after the exchange was re-tweeted by famous actor and comedian Roseanne Barr did Chung admit this to be so:

“You are correct. We have recently changed the method to capture the wide spectrum of gender identity and sex assigned at birth,” Chung finally replied.


However, an updated review of department materials indicates that this change was never implemented. Chung’s department continued to reclassify transmen as transwomen in their HIV statistics. Their most recent (2016) HIV Epidemiology Annual Report states [Page 97, Note on Transgender Status]:

In September 1996, SFDPH began noting transgender status when this information is contained in the medical record. Transgender individuals are listed as either male-to-female or female-to-male. The majority of transgender HIV cases are male-to-female (trans female). Due to the small number of trans male cases and potential small population size, their data are included with trans female cases to protect confidentiality.

[bolding by me. –GM]



Note how this reclassification of transmale HIV data was cited as being for their own good, nonsensically arguing that total erasure of AFAB transgender HIV data ‘protected their confidentiality’. Female HIV transmission rates among women who do not identify as transgender was not reclassified as male, nor was any heightened risk of potential confidentiality breech cited for non-transgender females. Only HIV data pertaining to transmen (women who identify as male) was deemed a risk to patient confidentiality. Only HIV data pertaining to transmen was deliberately erased.

More than one in ten transgender people living with HIV are transmen (identified as female at birth) reports a study released today in the American Journal of Public Health.


Characteristics of HIV-Positive Transgender Men Receiving Medical Care: United States, 2009–2014

Ansley Lemons MPH, Linda Beer PhD, Teresa Finlayson PhD, MPH, Donna Hubbard McCree PhD, MPH, RPh, Daniel Lentine MPH, and R. Luke Shouse MD, MPH, for the Medical Monitoring Project


The study looked at data starting in 2009 and ending in 2014, the same year I asked Cecilia Chung to stop reclassifying transmen as transwomen in official statistics.

AIDS Map reports:

“HIV-positive transgender men in the United States have significant unmet social and healthcare needs, according to a study published in Research and Practice. Approximately half were living in poverty and only 60% had sustained viral suppression.

“Many transgender men receiving HIV medical care in the United States face socioeconomic challenges and suboptimal health outcomes,” write the authors. “Although these transgender men had access to HIV medical care, many experienced poor health outcomes and unmet needs.”

Transgender people experience poorer health outcomes compared to cisgendered individuals (people whose current gender identity is the same as the one with which they were born).

Little is known about characteristics and outcomes of HIV-positive transgender men (designated female at birth). A team of investigators therefore analysed the records of patients who received HIV care in the United States between 2009 and 2014. Their aim was to characterise the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of these patients.

Overall, transgender men constituted 0.16% of all adults but 11% of transgender adults receiving HIV care in the United States. The majority (59%) were aged between 18 to 49 years and 40% identified as gay or bisexual. Although 42% had completed high school, almost half (47%) had an income below the national poverty level. A third were uninsured or relied on a Ryan White programme for their health care. Over two-thirds (69%) had an unmet support need and a quarter were currently living with depression.

Most (53%) were sexually active.

The majority (57%) had been living with HIV for ten or more years; a quarter had a history of an AIDS diagnosis. The vast majority (93%) had ever taken antiretrovirals; 88% were on HIV therapy and 83% were fully adherent to their treatment. Last viral load measurement was undetectable in 69% and 57% had a current CD4 cell count above 500 cells/mm3. Two-thirds of patients had a viral load test every six months but only 40% had received sexual health or HIV prevention counselling from a healthcare professional.

More than 1 in 10 transgender persons receiving HIV care were transgender men. HIV-positive transgender men receiving medical care in the United States constitute a small group with socioeconomic challenges, unmet needs for supportive services, and poor healthcomes,” conclude the authors. “To decrease disparities and achieve health equity among HIV-positive men, HIV care models could incorporate transgender-sensitive health care and mental health services and health insurance inclusive of sex reassignment procedures and physical sex-related care.”

[bolding by me. -GM]



Today’s press conference and panel from Hands Across The Aisle, a coalition of progressive and conservative women who object to the ideology of Gender Identity and the elimination of the legal status of women.


From the protesters:

The British Medical Association has recently issued some guidelines discouraging their own staff to call pregnant women “mothers” in order to not offend the transgender community.

We demonstrate to express our opposition to that move in the strongest terms.
We see that move as a way to deny women the right to talk about their experience of birth and motherhood.

The word for adult human female is “woman”.
The word for adult human female who is pregnant is “mother”.

Only the female of the species can get pregnant and we will not pretend otherwise.
“People” do not get pregnant.
“Men” do not get pregnant.
Noticing and naming biological differences between the sexes is called science, these are biological facts.
Naming biological facts is not “exclusive”
Naming biological facts is not hate speech.
Naming biological facts is not bigotry.
Naming biological facts is not transphobia.
Yet we are all supposed to behave as if knowing and saying how babies are made is hate speech !

Recently women have been told they cannot use the word “Woman” to describe themselves because it’s not inclusive enough.
For years women have been shamed for using the word “Lesbian” to describe themselves because it’s not inclusive enough.
Recently we have been told the words “vulva” “vagina” and even “pussy” are not to be used because “some women don’t have female genitals”.

The “inclusive” answer to the question “what is a woman ?” Is “anyone who identifies as a woman”.
The circular logic of this statement is clear for all to see :
One cannot identify with something we cannot define on the first place.

On the name of inclusivity we see yet another clear attempt to silence our experience as women as well as our oppression.

By erasing our rights to name our selves, our anatomy and our oppression we are effectively being silenced.
Women describing their experience of rape, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation or birth are called hateful bigots.

Motherhood happens to women because of our biology. Motherhood is a political issue that needs to be discussed in those terms :
In the UK each year, there are at least 70 000 women suffering from post natal depression.
54 000 women are being unlawfully dismissed from their jobs because they are pregnant.
Mothers of young children are one of the most discriminated against groups in the work place.
30% of all domestic violence starts in pregnancy.
Mothers are still the main carers for their children, adding to the housework they already perform on top of every other duties, including paid work.
Abortion rights are being threatened and eroded everywhere.

The consequence of the move from the British Medical Association is that women cannot regroup under the term “mother” to describe what is happening to them when they have children.
The move from the British Medical Association is clearly anti-women and this is why we oppose it.

We demand that the British Medical Association retract these guidelines which are both absurd and anti-women

We call on all women today to refuse to comply with that policy.
We call on all women to carry on using our language to describe our experiences.
We call on all women to come together and reclaim our existence from being erased.