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Ten Percent Of Population March For LGBTI Equality In The Faroe Islands

Faroe islands pride 2014

Police in the Faroe Islands estimate than 10 percent of the population took part in an LGBT equality march on July 27th, reports Gay Star News.

Of the island’s 50,000 people, it is thought that 5,000 took part in Sunday’s march.

A bill providing for same-sex marriage was defeated in March even though polls have shown that public support is as high as 68%.  

The Faroe Islands, an autonomous country and a dependency of Denmark, is the only Nordic country other than Finland that does not allow same-sex marriage.


European Court Of Human Rights Rules Transgender Woman Must Divorce Before Her Gender Is Recognized

European court of human rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that married transgender people living in countries where same-sex marriage is illegal must divorce if they want their true gender to be recognized, reports Gay Star News.

The decision comes after Heli Hämäläinen, a Finnish transgender woman, was told on July 16th that she can only have her gender recognized if she divorces her wife.

The ECHR ruled that there is no obligation on states without same-sex marriage laws to marry two people of the same gender if one of the partners is transgender.

The couple, married for 18 years with one child, say that getting divorced would go against their religious convictions.

Although the ECHR recognized the difficulties of daily situations for transgender people without legal gender recognition, it said that forcing the couple to end their marriage and instead enter into a registered partnership should not be a problem.

Arja Voipio, Transgender Europe’s Co-Chair from Finland, said:

“Our thoughts are today with Heli Hämäläinen and her family. The Court decided that their rights as a family are inferior to a narrow minded opinion about what a family and marriage should look like. The verdict shows that transgender issues at stake are still not properly understood.”


Archbishop Of Finland Apologizes For 'Cruel Treatment' Of Gays

Kari Mäkinen

The Archbishop of Finland’s Evangelical Lutheran Church has apologized for the cruel treatment of gay people and other sexual minorities, reports YLE Uutiset.

Speaking at the public forum SuomiAreena, Kari Mäkinen said:

“When I think of the outside pressure and treatment that we have been guilty of displaying towards sexual minorities as a church and as a society for decades and how it still continues, I think it’s time for an apology.”

Mäkinen said he hoped his apology would encourage others to follow suit.

In June, Finland’s Parliament rejected a measure that would have legalized “gender-neutral marriage”, making it possible for same-sex couples to marry.


Finland Parliamentary Committee Rejects Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Finland’s Parliament has defeated a measure that would have legalized ‘gender-neutral marriage’ making it possible for same-sex couples to wed in the Scandinavian nation, YLE reports

FinlandAfter a lengthy campaign, the latest bid to legislate for same-sex marriage has foundered once again at the Finnish Parliaments's Legal Affairs committee. The committee, which also rejected a previous bill on the issue, voted 10-6 to push the law back to the whole legislature. Three of the four National Coalition Party MPs on the committee voted against the bill.

The bill will now be considered by a full sitting of parliament in the autumn. 

Finland’s Parliament previously considered a marriage equality bill in 2013 but ultimately rejected it in March of that year. The current measure, a citizen’s initiative, was formed in response to that defeat. The initiative gathered more than 166,00 signatures (as of 2012, Finland had a population of approximately 5.4 million according to The World Bank).

Finland remains the only Nordic country where same-sex marriage is not legal. 


Finland to Issue 'Tom of Finland' Postage Stamps: VIDEO

Finland

Finland is set to release postage stamps honoring the work of gay artist Tom of Finland:

The artist, whose work celebrates the male form and Itella describes as ‘proud homoeroticism’, was selected by graphic designer Timo Berry.

"The sheet (of stamps) portrays a sensual life force and being proud of oneself. There is never too much of that in this northern country," said Berry in an Itella press release.

The sheet of three stamps is to be released in September in conjunction with a new Postal Museum planned for the Vapriikki centre in Tampere.

Enjoy a 'making of' video (work-unfriendly), in Finnish, and a great bonus clip about the Tom of Finland Foundation in Echo Park, California, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Finland to Issue 'Tom of Finland' Postage Stamps: VIDEO" »


Finnish Olympian Swimmer Ari-Pekka Liukkonen Comes Out as Gay to Raise Awareness About Sochi

Liukkonen

Finnish Olympic swimmer Ari-Pekka Liukkonen has come out of the closet because he wants to raise awareness about Russia's anti-gay laws ahead of the Sochi Games, YLE reports:

"I wanted to start a broader discussion in connection with Sochi, because it’s sad that the legislation in Russia restricts the human rights of young people and others," Liukkonen told Yle.

Liukkonen added that the Finnish sporting world was also in need of a more open attitude to sexuality.

"In the future I would hope that elite athletes and other people will not find homosexuality to be any kind of news," said Liukkonen...

Liukkonen said he's also speaking out because things were so difficult for him growing up.

"As the matter wasn’t discussed, I tried to forget about it, but during high school I began to accept that I am made this way," said Liukkonen. "Acceptance hasn’t necessarily been easy, but it hasn’t been horribly difficult either. This has been a long, slow process for me, but now I’m there."

Liukkonen, who is the first Finnish athlete to come out of the closet while still active in his sport, competed at the 2012 London Olympics and has won bronze at the European Championships.

Added the swimmer: "It’s a really great feeling that I can finally be myself."

Two other Olympians who have come out as a response to Russia's anti-gay laws? Canadian Olympic speed skater Anastasia Bucsis and Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff.


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