The silence in Sápmi – and the queer Sami breaking it

Thesis by: Løvold, Ane Hedvig Heidrundsdotter


This thesis is an investigation of the silence of queerness in Sápmi, and is empirically based on three fieldworks and eight interviews. The thesis will question the silence within a historical perspective, and explore different aspects of the silence in Sápmi today. The main focus will be on queer Sami in Norway, but will also voice queer Sami from Sweden and Finland. I will therefore include a discussion on the silence in the queer community in Norway, but the main focus will be on the silence in Sápmi. My research will also look into what was revealed when the queer Sami in this thesis break the silence. A central finding in my research is the impact of heteronormativity’s position in Sápmi, and I will discuss two of the ideals that this system of norms seems to uphold, the masculine ideal for Sami men and the Christian/læstadian ideal. The thesis will also look into the different strategies that queer Sami use in order to break the silence and gain more visibility and acceptance in Sápmi. One of the strategies is to mirror in, and identify with other indigenous people who don’t confirm the heteronormative Western gender binary, like the two- spirit movement in the US and Canada. I will also look into Stefan Mikaelssons’, the queer major of the Sami Parliament in Sweden, personal strategy to decolonize from the masculine ideal, and the coining of the term “bonju” in the north Sami language. Key Words: Queer Sami, Silence, Sápmi, Queer Theory, Heteronormativity, Intersectionality, Two-Spirit, Decolonization, Visibility, Strategies, Bonju.

Thesis available