Instagram: olalillelien
Instagram: olalillelien

Norwegian handball player Ola Hoftun Lillelien has come out as gay in a new social media post. 

Since 2018, Lillelien has made waves as a player for the popular team Drammen HK in Norway.

On 21 April, Lillelien decided to take a break from his usual sports-related posts to open up about his sexuality for the first time. 

“I have long thought whether to publish this post, but I now realise that it is something I want. Not for my own part but to be a role model,” he wrote. 

The young athlete then revealed that he came out to his family, friends, and teammates by admitting that he probably wouldn’t end up with a “pretty girl” but a “handsome boy”.

Alongside highlighting his heartwarming coming out moment with loved ones, Lillelien also shed a light on Norway’s 50th anniversary of decriminalising homosexuality. 

Around 119 men were convicted for being gay between 1902 and 1950. It wasn’t until 1972 that the archaic ban was overturned. 

“This post is not posted for validation or recognition, but to proudly thank those who before me have fought for my right to love whoever I want,” he explained.  

“I hope today’s society has come to a point that boys and girls no longer have to feel the fear of being accepted for who they are.” 


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A post shared by Ola Hoftun Lillelien (@olalillelien)

He then quoted a 2016 speech from King Harold V in which he stated: “Norwegians are girls who love girls, boys who love boys, and boys and girls who love each other.”

“Sports has room for everyone, including you and me. Cause I’m still just me Ola,” he added. 

Over the last few days, Lillelien’s announcement has been inundated with praise and support – which resulted in the post earning over 11,000 likes. 

The young athlete wasn’t the only person to acknowledge Norway’s history with homosexuality.

On the same day as Lillelien’s heartfelt post, the country’s government issued an apology for their former stance on the LGBTQ+ community.

“Gay people have been treated as criminals and prosecuted by the Norwegian authorities,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støe said

“The law had an important symbolic value and meant that homosexuals were exposed to multiple convictions of discrimination, slander and blackmail. 

“Criminalising and prosecuting people for their love life, treating [medically] healthy people depriving them of career and work opportunities are serious violations of our values.” 


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A post shared by Ola Hoftun Lillelien (@olalillelien)