Nordic Handball Player Comes Out, with Playful Quote, on Significant Anniversary

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday April 29, 2022

Ola Hoftun Lillelien
Ola Hoftun Lillelien  (Source:Ola Hoftun Lillelien/Instagram)

Ola Hoftun Lillelien showed both gay and civic pride when he came out on a significant anniversary for his country — and quoted the affirming words of the Norwegian king while he was at it, LGBTQ+ athletics site Outsports reported.

Lillelien came out in an Instagram post on April 21 — the half-century mark since Norway's decriminalization of homosexuality..

"'I say it like the king: Norway is boys who love boys, girls who love girls, and girls and boys who love each other,' Lillelien said, quoting from a speech of acceptance by King Harald V in 2016," Outsports relayed.

"April 21, 2022, it is 50 years since it was decriminalized to love whoever you want in Norway," the 22-year-old athlete's post continued. "This post is not posted for me to receive confirmation or recognition, but for me to proudly thank those who before me have fought for my right to love the one I want."

"Handball is a major sport in Europe, so Lillelien being out has significance," Outsports pointed out, going on to note that, according to Lillelien, the response to his announcement has been 100% supportive.

The athlete recounted that he told his family: "I most likely do not end up with a sweet girl, but a handsome boy."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.