March 31, 2004 – advocate.com (glbt)
Danish lawmakers propose church weddings for gay couples
Denmark’s opposition Socialist People’s Party presented a bill to parliament on Tuesday that would open the way for allowing gays and lesbians to marry in church, parliamentarian sources told Agence France-Presse. "The current law bars all religious communities from wedding homosexual couples. Our proposal aims to change this legislation and to stop the political interference in religious matters by giving all churches the freedom to make their own decision on whether or not to wed homosexuals," the author of the proposal, Kamal Qreishi, told AFP. The bill will be debated in parliament over coming months, he said.
Denmark was the first country in the world to legally recognize gay and lesbian couples in October 1989 when it approved so-called registered partnerships. Since then, however, gays in Denmark have fought for the right to get married in church. The head of Denmark’s liberal-conservative government, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, provoked an uproar in January when he said he was in favor of equal rights to religious marriage for all couples, including same-sex couples.
"I find it hard to believe that God would be harder on homosexuals and lesbians than on other people," he wrote in a magazine column. "[But] politicians should not interfere in the internal life of the church and should leave ritual in the hands of pastors and parish councilors." Denmark’s religion minister, Tove Fergo, has previously stated that it is up to the Evangelical-Lutheran state church to petition the government and parliament for legal changes if it in fact wants to alter the legislation surrounding marriage rituals.
Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales–Denmark celebrates the birth of presumably gay author of ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘The Ugly Duckling’
by Raphael Kadushin
Hans Christian Andersen didn’t just invent the postmodern fairy tale (that starts out pretty but builds to a trapdoor ending–that is, a distinctly dead Little Match Girl) He lived it too. That has become especially clear this year, as the Danes celebrate the 200th anniversary of the writer’s birth with a series of suitably storybook celebrations and a reexamination of his bittersweet life.
The reexamination starts, inevitably, with Andersen’s family–the 19th century’s version of a John Waters ensemble cast. Andersen’s mother was illegitimate and illiterate, his industrious aunt ran a Copenhagen bordello, and his father–a poor shoemaker–keeled over a half-finished pump one I day while Hans was still a boy.
Looking for a way out, the youth aspired to the theatrical life. First he broke through with a couple of walk-on parts as a singing shepherd in local productions, and then he decided to desert his backwater hometown of Odense altogether for the big time in Copenhagen. Here he literally scratched, unannounced and unknown, at the door I of a rich cultural benefactor and fellow bachelor.
Shoes, show tunes, sugar daddies, and shepherd boys. If all this carries a vague whiff of something oddly familiar, recent studies of the writer forgo the usual coy conjecture. According to Andersen biographer Jackie Wullsch1ager, in her Hans Christian Andersen: The Life of a Storyteller (Alfred A. Knopf), the storyteller was, at the very least, a resolute bisexual who reeled through three consuming homo melodramas of his own. The first I involved Ludvig Miller, "a handsome, sober man with a passion for numismatics and I museums."
Andersen responded with his own passion when he received a love letter from the "fleshy youth." I "Oh Ludvig how I adore you," Hans wrote back. It was only after he announced his adoration that Andersen discovered he was responding to a prank; Ludvig’s original declaration of love was actually composed by a mutual friend with a lethal sense of humor. The bitter laughs kept coming. Andersen’s next feverish passion was for a 22-year-old law student named Henrik Stampe, who often posed for neoclassical artist Bertel Thorvaldsen’s sculptures of naked I youths on horseback. While Henrik probably never threw a saddle on Hans, there is evidence of some I possible horseplay; Andersen’s almanac at the time I refers to worry over his pain in his penis. Henrik, though, had already decided on the girl he wanted to marry–a 17-year-old nymphet friend of Andersen’s.
Andersen’s third manly love at least offered momentary satisfaction. Harald Scharff, a dancer at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, was famous for his "thick sensuous lips"; Andersen describes him as a flitting butterfly. Clearly this time he had hit pay dirt. The writer’s diary refers to intimate dinners and Scharff’s present to Hans, on the author’s 57th birthday, of a silver toothbrush. Always hopeful, Andersen saw the shiny oral hygiene utensil as a valentine, at least until Scharff flitted into a hetero marriage. This series of smoking theoretical affairs is hard to refute, and Wullschlager views the silence of previous biographers for what it is: simple homophobia. In fact, even the physical clues serve as evidence. Contemporary photographs all catch the writer’s arched, boomerang eyebrows, the lovingly curled pageboy coif, and the long, bony face that is equal parts Olive Oyl, Joyce Carol Oates, and Seabiscuit.
Andersen’s work itself can be read as subtle code. Thematically obsessed with disguises, secrets, and doppelgangers-the dark self, hidden and then revealed-he found the best catharsis for social repression in his edgy stories. But that doesn’t mean the man didn’t sometimes break free of his own fairy-tale curse. A photo shot during one of Andersen’s romances reveals a transformed writer. His face is glowing, almost ethereal, and his eyes, blank marbles in other pictures, look illuminated. It’s nice to know he met a happy ending, at least for one passing moment.
15 January 2007 – PinkNews
Copenhagen looks to Outgames in 2009
by PinkNews.co.uk writer
Despite the financially disappointing Montreal Outgames, plans for the 2009 event in Copenhagen are looking positive. Outgames is a sports, cultural and human rights event primarily for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals. The second event will be the largest international sports and cultural event ever held on Danish soil. 8,000 people from all corners of the world expected to participate.
Copenhagen was chosen to host this cultural event because Denmark is a tolerant society, where there is place and space for people who choose their own lifestyle and identity. From July 25 to August 1, 2009 Copenhagen will stage the competition with over 30 sporting events and participants from at least 100 different countries. Although the event was originated for the gay community, it is by no means exclusive, and people from all communities who support the spirit of the event are encouraged to participate.
The aim is that, once it is underway, the event will be perceived as relevant and welcoming for all inhabitants of Copenhagen.
"World Outgames 2009 will be a multi-facetted, popular and cultural event. We will focus on creating a good balance between the major elements of the program that take place on the harbour, beach and in Tivoli and Rådhuspladsen (the City Hall Square), and the various smaller events elsewhere in town, on the squares, in the streets and backyards," explained director World Outgames 2009 director Uffe Elbaek. Copenhagen is expected to put US$60 million into the effort to make this Outgames a successful venture for the participants, sponsors and the city itself. Elbæk also expressed his enthusiasm for Copenhagen opening the event
"It is one of those kind of international events, which on the strength of the contents of its programme along will challenge Copenhagen’s identity and sense of self. It throws the city’s tolerance into sharp focus and, in addition, it is a kind of test of strength in terms of any future potential to host major, international sports event, such as the Olympics." Alongside the games there will be a human rights conference with 1,500 delegates expected to attend. For more Information about the event visit: www.copenhagen2009.org
17th August 2007 – PinkNews
Faroe Islanders celebrate first year of LGBT protection
by PinkNews.co.uk writer
The Faroe Islands are celebrating gay Pride this weekend, and this year is particularly special. In December discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation was criminalised, after a very close vote in the country’s parliament, the Faroese Løgting. The islands, a self-governing province of Denmark, are situated halfway between Iceland and Norway. They have a population of 48,000 people.
Today Faroe Pride begins, celebrating that first law recognising LGBT people in the country, promoting diversity and respect for human rights in Faroese society. It is the second Pride festival on the islands and is organised by ANSO, Association of Nordic LGBT Student Organisations, together with Friðarbogin, the Faroese LGBT organisation. Friðarbogin was founded in 2003. One of the aims of the organisation is to raise awareness around LGBT issues and to get proper legal protection for LGBT people in the Faroe Islands.
"It is important for us, working for LGBT rights here in the Faroe Islands, to see this great support from our friends in the Nordic region," said Tina Jacobsen, a board member of Friðarbogin. We hope that the presence of politicians from Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland will help our own politicians to see the importance of speaking about human rights," she added. During a weekend of festivities, various panels and movie screenings will take place and one of the panels will focus specially on students in higher education.
"In smaller cities like Tórshavn, students in general can be an important force to help fight homophobia, therefore we have invited representatives from student unions in Iceland, Sweden, and Greenland to the festival in order to discuss what they can actually do to be of assistance," explained Ásta Ósk Hlöðversdóttir, president of ANSO. The biggest event of the Pride weekend will be a parade, which will start on Saturday afternoon from the Nordic House. Music and speeches will start in the captial Tórshavn’s main square Vaglið, at 15.00.
20th August 2007 – PinkNews
Pride politician calls for same-sex partnership scheme
by PinkNews.co.uk writer
A leading parliamentarian in the Faroe Islands has called for the creation of registered partnerships on the islands. Finnur Helmsdal was speaking at Pride celebrations in the capital, Tórshavn, which was decorated with rainbow colours. Organisers of Pride said they were very pleased with the success of the events which took place over the weekend. 130 people marched through Tórshavn and another 200 turned out to hear speeches in the main square.
It was the second Pride festival on the islands and was organised by ANSO, Association of Nordic LGBT Student Organisations, together with Friðarbogin, the Faroese LGBT organisation. Friðarbogin was founded in 2003. One of the aims of the organisation is to raise awareness around LGBT issues and to get proper legal protection for LGBT people in the Faroe Islands.
"We are very happy with the turnout for the parade, keeping in mind that only around 19,000 people live in Tórshavn and 48,000 in the whole Faroe Islands. I hope that next year even more will join us," said Tina Jakobsen, a board member of Friðarbogin. Finnur Helmsdal, parliamentarian in the Faroese Løgting, or parliament, said in his speech that registered partnership should be legalised today in the Faroes. He also thanked ANSO for making the first pride in 2005 possible, since that event started a discussion in Faroese society, which for example led to the addition of sexual orientation into the anti-discrimination paragraph in the penal code last December.
"In a small community like this, the LGBT movement needs allies," said Ásta Ósk Hlöðversdóttir, president of ANSO. "I hope that we have been able to show that LGBT issues have to do with all of us. I also hope that by bringing representatives together from various Nordic student organisations, we have created an alliance that hopefully will play an important role when it comes to supporting human rights during upcoming years in the Faroe Islands."
The islands, a self-governing province of Denmark, are situated halfway between Iceland and Norway.
17th March 2008 – PinkNews
Copenhagen Pride funding restored after media campaign
by Tony Grew
Officials in the Danish capital Copenhagen have reversed a decision to withhold funding from the city’s gay Pride event. Leading Danish LGBT media outlet PrideRadio.dk has described the reaction to the decision, which cited new procedures, as a "media craze that attacked the city’s right-wing ‘mayor of culture’ Mrs Allerslev." She has now said that "a mistake had been made in rejecting funds for Copenhagen Pride."
Two gay MPs, Social Democrat Mogens Jensen and the Centre party’s Emil Ammitzbøll, have shown their support by joining the board of Pride. That move has "sent a signal to every corner of Denmark, both gay and straight, that Copenhagen Pride is more than party and drags, it’s also full of gay-political statements," reports PrideRadio.dk. Copenhagen Pride is a week-long festival attended by tens of thousands of people. Last year it featured an LGBT marketplace, an open air film screening, panel debates and cultural events. The grand finale is a parade through the Copenhagen and a massive concert at the city’s main square.
23 April 2008 – Fridae
World Outgames Copenhagen 2009 registrations open
by Justin Ellis
It’s time to explore your inner Viking as registrations for the 2009 World Outgames in Copenhagen open online. Whether you aspire to be a Little Mermaid in the pool or a Hamlet at the human rights conference, this is your opportunity to revel under the midnight sun. Denmark came out early, legalising homosexuality in 1933. As such it was an obvious choice for the 2nd World Outgames, which will run over eight days from Jul 25 to Aug 2, 2009. The program includes sports, human rights and cultural events and is overseen by GLISA, the Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association. The theme for the 2009 World Outgames is “Love of Freedom – Freedom to Love,” and has a deeper significance for LGBT people as 2009 is also the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City.
The human rights conference at the games is being held in conjunction with Amnesty International Denmark. It will provide a forum for discussion about the gains the global gay rights movement has made over the last four decades and an opportunity to discuss where it’s going into the millennium. Sports in the 38 disciplines scheduled at the games range from the popular – volleyball, badminton, bowling, and taekwondo, to the exotic – petanque, line dancing, kayak polo and floor ball. The Outgames 2009 will mark the first time that a winter sports tournament has been held in Denmark, says Tommy Kristoffersen, sports director for the games. “Interest for these events (curling, ice hockey and figure skating), especially from North America, was so strong that we felt it important to include these disciplines, even though the facilities are not normally in use.”
The Outgames culture program includes a tango festival and a leather festival. And for those who prefer a more cultured take on sport there is a queer underground festival that includes the Queenie Games, says Marc Northern, Outgames Director for Communications and Media. “So it’ll be the 110 meter hurdles in drag, but they’ve assured me they’ll have ambulances standing by just in case.” And if you can’t squeeze into those old platforms there’s the handbag throwing event.
The Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Ritt Bjerregaard has invited the mayors of global cities to join their local LGBT community in bringing their queer arts and culture to the OutCities world festival week from Jul 26 to Aug 1. Rio de Janeiro, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, Mexico City, Melbourne, and Denmark’s second city Aarhus will fill the squares and streets of Copenhagen with installations, events, and performances on the themes of gender, identity and diversity. The historical gay Copenhagen tour, which takes in cruising areas from the last couple of centuries will be of particular interest to LGBT visitors.
The Outgames also provide an opportunity to showcase aspects of Danish culture which are often subsumed in a broader Scandanavian image overseas, says Northern. “For example Danish cooking is not known around the world, but we will have Danish cooking classes and tasting days of Danish food. And as expected there will be traditional sightseeing activities like castle viewing.” Registrations for the games opened online on Apr 22 and close at the end of May 2009. Registration before the end of September 2008 affords an earlybird discount of 25%. Registrations for a sport or cultural package before the end of September 2008 are US$255, and US$340 for the conference.
Numbers aren’t expected to top the 12,500 participants that made it to the 1st World Outgames in Montreal in 2006 but participation will be strong nonetheless, says Northern. “We’re expecting 8,000 people in total, including 6,500 sports participants, 1,000 delegates at the human rights conference, and 500 people for the cultural program.” Northern is certain visitors to Denmark will be impressed. “Check out our website www.copenhagen2009.org and think about coming to Copenhagen in 2009. The reception will be warm and friendly and a very different experience to what people are used to when they travel to places like the US or other countries in Europe.”
While there are no visa waivers for the games the Danish Foreign Ministry is actively supporting the event and have set up an expedited procedure for Outgames participants. For information about visas visit The Danish Ministry of Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs website at http://www.nyidanmark.dk/en-us.
May 21, 2008 – PinkNews
Danes protest against gay hate music on Freewebs.com
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
Online music stores are selling so-called Murder Music despite protests from gay rights activists. Martin Adelskov, founder of leading LGBT radio station Pride Radio Denmark, has complained to Freewebs.com and Indietitan.com after coming across the hate-filled content by unsigned artist Jomo Minott.
"It’s insane that online music stores and free internet hosting services wont block users whose sole purpose, with their musical career, is spreading hatred though music," Mr Adelskov told PinkNews.co.uk. I immediately emailed the support on Indietitan.com, and several hours later, I received an email letting me know they would start an investigation at the very same moment." Mr. Adelskov also reported the artist’s website hosting service Freewebs.com. "Freewebs.com actually has an abuse-policy, and ‘spreading hatred’ is on that list, so I thought they would be easy to dance with. But Freewebs.com are either full of it or they simply just don’t get it, because the site is still there. It really scares me that internet companies like Freewebs.com and Indietitan.com are making sure that the ugly face of hatred has a platform from where they can speak."
The Stop Murder Music campaign, headed by legendary activist Peter Tatchell, has added Jomo Minott to its list of hate artists. In July 2007 artists Beenie Man, Sizzla and Capleton, who had previously released anti-gay hate songs, including incitements to murder lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, signed up to the Reggae Compassion Act, in a deal brokered with top reggae promoters and Stop Murder Music activists.
The Act reads:
"It must be clear there’s no space in the music community for hatred and prejudice, including no place for racism, violence, sexism or homophobia.
"We do not encourage nor minister to Hate but rather uphold a philosophy of Love, Respect and Understanding towards all human beings as the cornerstone of reggae.
"We agree to not make statements or perform songs that incite hatred or violence against anyone from any community."
The fight against other homophobic performers continues.
"The other four murder music artists – Elephant Man, TOK, Bounty Killa and Vybz Kartel – have not signed the Reggae Compassion Act," said Mr Tatchell. "These singers have incited the murder of lesbians and gays. They should not be rewarded with concerts or sponsorship deals. The Stop Murder Music campaign urges organisations worldwide to intensify the campaign to cancel these singers’ concerts and their record, sponsorship and advertising deals."A new offence of incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation received Parliamentary approval last week.
Stonewall, the gay equality organisation, gave evidence to MPs about the sort of incitement to homophobic murder and hatred that goes unchallenged. Chief executive Ben Summerskill quoted extensively from the homophobic lyrics of dancehall star Beenie Man and others to demonstrate the nature of their comments about gay men and lesbians. MPs were confronted with the words "motherfucker," "pussy-sucker" and "batty-fucker" during his testimony.
Mr Summerskill rejected concerns that a law banning incitement to religious hatred would be used to silence the voices of religious people who regard homosexuality as a sin. "We are crystal clear that people are perfectly entitled to express their religious views. We are also crystal clear that the temperate expression of religious views should not be covered by the legislation. One might also want to look at the context in which any expression is made that people should be killed or put to death because they are homosexual."
July 7, 2008 – PinkNews
Airline launches gay website
by Phoebe Ferris-Rotman
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has become the first in Europe to launch a website designed especially for the LGBT community. The site, which includes nightlife tips from the airline’s cabin crew, is aimed at the non-Danish gay community and hopes to attract tourism to the Danish capital, Copenhagen. The website, in coordination with webpage Copenhagen Gay Life, business owners, bars and clubs aims to provide a gay-friendly guide to the city, promoting Copenhagen as the new hot gay tourist destination. It also provides a link to the tourist centre Visit Copenhagen which has a calendar of events, gay-only bed and breakfast listings and gay tour operators.
"We are taking this step because we would like to support diversity and events that brings people together. And in addition to that, this is also an exciting opportunity for us to broaden our dialogue with customers," Mikkel Løndahl, communication consultant at SAS-Denmark, told newspaper Berlingske Tidene.
SAS has also agreed to sponsor the World Out Games that will take place in Copenhagen next summer.
"When you appeal to a customer group in a different way, you will show that group that you are willing to go to that extra mile for them," Lars Münther from the advertising firm Compleks Kommunikation told PrideRadio.dk "And when SAS makes it clear that they’re thinking about the gay community, the gay community will come to prefer travelling with Scandinavian Airlines."
You can visit the new site here.
July 30, 2008 – PinkNews
Greenland to introduce discrimination protection for gays
by T’Kisha George
A new law that makes it illegal to discriminate against homosexuals is to be introduced in Greenland as it emerged that gay men struggle with homosexuality more than women do. Greenland’s news site Sermitsiak reported that the law, which legal experts said was not necessary until now, is set to take effect in 2010. Homosexuality hasn’t been something that has been important for people,? Søren Volder, chief legal advisor for the Home Rule government told Denmark’s Politiken newspaper.
Greenland, a self-governing Danish province with a population of 56,000, is the only Nordic country without such legislation. Historian Jens Rydstöm believes that while lesbians can fulfil traditional female roles, gay men are often thought of as incapable of performing masculine tasks such as hunting, and are discriminated against. Passing the law has enormous symbolic value,? said Rydstöm. "This is an important message to send to Greenland’s gays and lesbians," he said. ? He suggested that a combination of the media’s willingness to report about homosexuality and legislation preventing discrimination could help it become more acceptable.
September 18, 2008 – PinkNews
Human rights conference to be held alongside Outgames in Copenhagen
by Tony Grew
The second International Conference on LGBT Human Rights will be held at the same time as next year’s World Outgames. Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, will host the three day conference where activists dedicated to eradicating homophobia and injustice will gather. "The Outgames Conference is the premiere international LGBT conference dedicated to inviting anyone from throughout the world to engage in discussions and planning sessions to advance our collective human rights efforts," said Paula Ettelbrick, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
The conference will be held from July 27-29 2009 and is limited to 1,000 participants. The venue will be the new Danish Radio concert hall, and the programme will include a wide range of high-profile international keynote speakers. Topics under discussion include human rights, education, culture and media, being out in the workplace, LGBT history, sport and health. Participants from countries other than Canada, the United States, Western Europe, Israel, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong who need financial support to attend the conference can apply for the Outreach Programme before the October 1st deadline.
Outgames is a sports, cultural and human rights event primarily for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals. The second event, July 25 to August 1, 2009, will be the largest international sports and cultural event ever held on Danish soil. 8,000 people from all over the world are expected to participate in more than 30 sporting events.
September 2008 – copenhagen2009.org
Call for Workshops
With this call for workshops we invite you to propose a workshop for the conference. Any proposal relating to the conference themes and consistent with the goal of equality for LGBT persons will be considered. Please read the general information. The deadline for the submission of abstracts for workshop proposals is October 1st 2008. Find more information on how to submit a workshop proposal here.
To submit a proposal is not the same as to register for the conference. To register for World Outgames 2009 you have to pay the conference fee. To reserve a place at the conference, workshop presenters should register as early as possible, even if they have not yet submitted their workshop proposal or have not yet heard whether their proposal has been accepted. Workshop presenters must also cover their own travel and accommodation expenses.
Participants who are unable to pay the conference fee and/or their own travel and accommodation expenses, especially participants from other locations than Canada, the United States, Western Europe, Israel, Japan, Australia and New Zealand can apply for the Outreach Program. The deadline for Outreach applications is 1 October 2008.
March 17, 2009 – International Herald Tribune
Denmark allows gay couples to adopt
The Associated Press – Copenhagen: Danish lawmakers have approved a law granting gay couples equal rights in adoption. In a 62-53 vote with 64 absentees, parliament put Denmark in line with other EU countries, including Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden, allowing same-sex couples equal rights in adoption. The law adopted Tuesday had been presented by an openly gay lawmaker who found backing from the opposition Social Democrats and Socialist People’s Party. While the center-right government opposed the bill, seven members of the ruling Liberal Party voted in favor of the bill.
July 22, 2009 – PinkNews
Nations of the world meet to discuss and celebrate gay rights movement
by Ramsey Dehani
Copenhagen is next week hosting World Outgames 2009, a nine-day festival of sports, culture, and a conference on gay rights that will involve over 100 countries under the banner "Love of freedom, freedom to love". Ritt Bjerregaard, the lord mayor of Copenhagen, calls the event "a very special honour" for the city,.
Commenting on the event, she said: "It was 20 years ago that Denmark became the first country to legally recognise homosexual relationships." She added that the games represented a perfect way to celebrate this anniversary.
Representatives from Melbourne, Tel Aviv, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro, among many others, will meet in a Mayoral Summit during the festival, which will focus on "diversity as a key element to urban innovation". The festival will also include a large sports programme, incorporating rowing, beach volleyball and swimming, as exhibitions, a film festival, an international choir festival, a leather festival and several large parties.
Uffe Elbeak, director of the event, called it "the Olympics in 3D, where sport is accompanied by two equally important dimensions: a wide ranging cultural programme and a human rights conference focusing on issues important to the LGBT community." The Copenhagen Cathedral has also organised a mass blessing, which offers gay couples special recognition by the Church to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the legalisation of same-sex civil unions in the country.
July 27, 2009 – PinkNews
World Outgames kicks off
by Ramsey Dehani
The World Outgames 2009, a celebration of gay sport and cultural diversity, kicks off today in the Copenhagen. The games were officially started with an opening ceremony on Saturday night, which saw a 50-metre ‘catwalk’ extended from the front of the city’s town hall, and participants from 98 countries parading down it. The event is being held against a backdrop of cultural and human rights, with a mayoral conference being held with leaders from all over the world to discuss LGBT rights.
Uffe Elbeak, director of the Outgames, called it "the Olympics in 3D, where sport is accompanied by two equally important dimensions: a wide-ranging cultural programme and a human rights conference". The competition will take place over nine days, and will include 38 sports, including wrestling, football, swimming and dancing tournaments . The opening ceremony, however, was marred by an attack on three participants of the Outgames, including one British man, just outside of the ceremony’s civic venue.
Two men have been arrested and the victims, from Sweden, Norway and UK, have received hospital treatment. A member of the Canadian curling team told Danish TV: "Obviously it’s scary. That fear will haunt you forever. Hate crimes go beyond bruises, go beyond broken bones and they affect you as an individual and it scars you for life." The day ended with an official after-party to the commencement, with Danish Singer Annisette, backed by a 100-man choir, performing took the official theme song of the World Outgames 2009, ‘Freedom to Love’.
29 July 2009 – BBC News
‘Hate crime’ at Danish gay games
A Dane has been charged with committing a hate crime for allegedly throwing fireworks at athletes during a gay sporting event in Copenhagen. He is accused of throwing fireworks into the Oesterbro stadium where the World Outgames running competitions were being held. One US athlete suffered a light injury to his hand. The attack marks the second suspected hate crime at the Outgames after three men were assaulted in the street.
In the stadium incident, the alleged perpetrator was apprehended by runners from the Sparta Athletes club as he attempted to escape. The 31-year-old suspect told a court he had thrown only one firework against a wall and had not intended to harm the athletes. Copenhagen Police commissioner Poul B Hansen told the Danish newspaper Politiken it would be surprising if the accused had been unaware the event was for gay people.
"We are certain it was no coincidence that he threw the fireworks where he did – but it is, of course, up to the judge to decide if we are right," he added. The suspect was remanded in custody for 13 days.
On Sunday, three gay men from Sweden, Norway and the UK were treated in hospital following an attack by youths in the street. The attackers have been charged with hate crimes. Copenhagen’s openly gay deputy mayor Klaus Bondam denounced the attacks. "I am actually surprised that this has happened. I would have thought Copenhagen would have been more welcoming towards gays and lesbians from around the world," he told the BBC.
"World Outgames have invited people from countries where you can receive the death penalty for being gay. These attacks shows the importance of organising a gay sporting event, to further people’s understanding of homosexuality" he added. Some 5,500 participants from 98 countries are in Copenhagen for eight days of sport and culture to promote rights for homosexuals worldwide.
July 30, 2009 – GlobalGayz.com
OutGames 2009 Human Rights Conference Closes on Somber Yet Defiant Note
by Richard Ammon
The OutGames 2009 International Human Rights Conference took place over the past three days in Copenhagen with over 500 delegates, presenters, speakers, guest diplomats and Danish officials focused on the human rights of LGBT people around the globe. It’s motto was ‘Freedom to Love—Love of freedom’. From as far away as Nepal, Brazil, Uganda, Iceland, Cuba and China, rights activists and organizers gathered at the stylish conference hall of the Danish Radio (DR) corporation to present their work and issues to a dedicated audience of concerned participants.
The opening speeches were inspiring by well know figures including Virginia Apuzzo who was an open lesbian Clinton aide, John Amaeche a retired out NBA player and currently a psychologist and activist from England.
The star of the morning, indeed the past half century was Axel Axgil (Denmark) now 95 years old who spoke about starting the first LGBT group here in 1948 with his late partner, Eigil. They were the first couple in the world to legally and officially register their relationship (same as marriage except in name) in 1989 in Copenhagen. His personal history is the history of the modern LGBT human right struggle for recognition and acceptance. His words were soft but inspiring to hear, after which he received a standing ovation and a bouquet of red roses.
Themes and Purposes
The conference was divided into thematic topics: human rights, business, health, education, sport, family, sexuality and culture-and-media. In each of the workshop periods, two each day, over 20 different presentations were offered by participants from over 80 countries, totaling more than 120 offerings, revealing the complexity and breadth of the LGBT world today.
One of the most valuable purposes of the conference was to give ‘developing world’ activists a louder voice than they have at home, speaking to a supportive audience in tune with their crucial issues. The most poignant presentations were from the ‘global south’ in Africa, Asia and South America where LGBT rights work ranges at best from sporadic to, at worst, dangerous.
Risking their own safety in countries such as Bolivia, Peru, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Iran or Turkey, these courageous men and women reported their efforts to bring human rights awareness to their governments, mainstream organizations, churches and law agencies—often with a minimum of success. Many of these activists have found it necessary (and safer) to mask their gay rights efforts under the cloak of health education, AIDS prevention or neighborhood charity work.
At the conference the ‘global north’ was able to unite in solidarity with the ‘global south’ in both principle and principal since much funding comes from Western Europe and North America. Not only does financial aid help sustain humanitarian efforts but it also gives lifeblood to the activists whose livelihood also depends on northern sponsorship. However, as noted in one presentation there is unfortunately room for corruption in this field of work. When United Nations grants were announced for HIV prevention work directed at MSM (men who have sex with men) in Kenya, new ‘help’ groups suddenly appeared and applied for some of the grant money.
Of more importance was that Kenya has finally acknowledged that MSM exist and need to be targeted as a high-risk population for HIV prevention education. Slowly African nations are reluctantly ‘coming out’ and recognizing that many men are not uniformly heterosexual, even married men, after insisting for a generations that homosexuality was a colonial or western import. MSM outreach was one of several key issues raised at the conference.
A second valuable purpose (among several) was the presence of the transsexual/transgender community who are, after much resistance within the LGBT culture, entering mainstream discussions and raising their demands for rights, treatments and identity-change urged by gender minorities leaders such as Georgina Beyer, New Zealand’s openly trans (former) parliament member and animated agitator for human rights.
After three days of intense exchanges, busy networking, vegetarian lunches, films, musical interludes, all at DR’s well-equipped venue (and organized by volunteers), the conference closed with poignant speeches by the Europe’s highest ranking human rights official—Thomas Hammarberg (Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe), Marcia Kran of the United Nations’ High Commission of Human Rights and Viti Muntarghorn (Thailand) co-author of the Yogyakarta Human Rights Principles (“no discrimination, no criminalization, no violence” against sexual minorities). A video was presented of Navi Pilay, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights who plainly said, “human rights are everyone’s rights. No exceptions.”
Laudable and purposeful as these words were from these esteemed people, at the very end the audience was reminded, by Victor Mukasa of Uganda and IGLHRC (International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission), of the messy and daunting work in the ’trenches’ when he announced a Ugandan parliamentary committee this week has recommended to the full parliament the criminalization of homosexuality and any advocacy on its behalf.
It was a sobering end to a sobering conference.
And further: A Digression about Health and AIDS in Africa and Denmark
One of the nine themes of the Human Rights conference was Health, In the introduction to that theme the program said: “In many parts of the world LGBT people lack access to services, information, and health education relevant to our experiences, and finding this information can be an uncomfortable, frightening, or unsafe experience.
“Everyone should have equal access to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, without discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. The conference theme will address the physical, mental, psychological and emotional well being of LGBT people as well as the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.”
I arrived in Copenhagen a few days before the OutGames started to practice my sports—swimming—in a 50-meter pool. At home I only have access to 25-yard pools. I found a pool and the swim went well enough, but my thoughts were turned elsewhere by way of serendipity–in the shower. I could not help noticing how uninhibited male Danes are – no wimpy showers stalls or curtains here. Everyone from old to young and in between totally bare-assed in front of one another, unlike the USA, where many guys shower in their swim suits then wrap themselves in towels and wiggle into their underwear under the towel. Stupid, but that’s another issue.
But nudity is not the issue of this commentary.
Of more ‘scientific’ note, the Danes are virtually all uncircumcised. This observation comes two days after a New York Times front page article about the ‘epidemic’ of circumcision that is reported to be happening in sub-Saharan Africa. Thousands of adult men there are being urged to flock to clinics to get clipped since the UN sponsored and reported a wide-spread study, surely costing millions, that revealed a significantly lower HIV infection rate among circumcised sexually active men (presumed straight).
What’s wrong with this picture – with the conclusion African medical and government leaders are jumping to? The Danish HIV infection rate is minuscule, percentage wise, compared with African infection rates, even though most men in both places are not circumcised. It seems to me the African leaders may well be chasing a red herring and in so doing may be woefully misleading millions of Africans along the way. Given the fragmentary and sporadic health education most African men are offered–or are willing to accept–the great risk is that many of these men will misunderstand circumcision and believe they are thus protected from AIDS.
If these researchers had come to Denmark and checked the local male anatomy and studied the low HIV infection rate here, they might well have concluded HIV infection is NOT in itself correlated with circumcision.
So what is the issue that makes the difference?
A matter of size? A matter of libido? Sexual promiscuity? Social attitudes towards condoms? Why is the Danish HIV infection rate so low and the Africa rate so high yet both do not practice circumcision? I think HIV infection in male Africa has no precise correlation with circumcision. I think it’s a matter of hygiene and personal attitude: available cleansing places like bathrooms with running hot and cold water, body scrubs, detergent soaps, health care practices and condoms – as well as health and medical knowledge and care.
To its credit, study does acknowledge the factors of health counseling, use of condoms and reduced sexual partners in reducing infection rates. But of all these factors, circumcision seems the most radical and in the long run least effective. Bring hygiene, running water and a new attitude toward using condoms to Africa, not scalpels. (If a wife asks a husband to use a condom it’s as good as accusing him of infidelity, which can result in abuse or abandonment; it’s a catch 22 and the woman gets infected.)
The Danes have socialized medicine for everyone and are liberally minded; if there is a sexual problem it gets dealt with. The Africans have few clinics and avoid sexuality talk. I have been to Africa (13 countries) and have seen how many people live, especially in rural villages and towns where few houses have running water and a doctor is likely to be fifty miles away. So, my simple shower room observation is that the rush to circumcision is a misleading gesture that will not, in the long run, save anyone who is sexually active–gay or straight (or bi, as many African men are), but only mislead many into a false sense of security.
In possible fact, the surgery may well have a post-op reverse effect: many men will be eager to try our their new ‘freedom’ and have sex (condom-less as usual) before the wounds are healed, causing bleeding, and thus exposing them more to HIV than before the knife. Further, the surveys did not begin to address the issue of MSM – men who have sex with men – of whom there are countless, but are not acknowledged as a risk group. How does circumcision effect this population, which is one of the highest risk groups (along with women)?
Circumcision seems a severe, simplified and inadequate response to a complex issue.
July 31, 2009 – On Top Magazine
Outgames Offers Church Blessing For Gay Couples
by On Top Magazine Staff
About 18 gay and lesbian couples received a blessing from one of Copenhagen’s most prominent churches on Thursday in connection with the World Outgames, the nine-day gay sporting competition taking place in Denmark. The mass blessing by the Church of Our Lady (Vor Fure Kirke) was heavily promoted by organizers of the games which center on gay activism and culture as much as sport.
Located in the heart of the city’s political and historic district, Our Lady is Denmark’s National Cathedral. In 2004, Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, married Mary Elizabeth Donaldson in the church. To celebrate the games, the church’s six columns were each dressed in rainbow color fabrics. About 10 priests from the church offered the blessing to all couples, regardless of gender, nationality or religious belief.
“It is important for the priests involved to offer a blessing to all people, but it has a special significance to offer it to people who come from countries in which their governments, and perhaps most importantly their churches, do not recognize their love,” ordained street-priest Mia Rahr Jacobsen, a spokeswoman for Copenhagen Inclusive Churches, said in an Outgames release.
The gay-inclusive blessings come as Denmark celebrates the 20th anniversary of legally recognized civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Jacobsen said blessings were available in Danish, English, German or sign language at the couple’s request. About 5,000 athletes are competing in more than 30 sporting events during the festival.
August 5, 2009 – IPS News
Outspoken Activists Defend Africa’s Sexual Diversity
by Christi van der Westhuizen
Copenhagen,(IPS) – The second World Outgames, held in the Danish capital, offered up a veritable smorgasbord of sport, politics and arts while celebrating sexual and gender diversity. But it also reminded participants that bigotry against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, sometimes culminating in violence, remains a scourge across the world. The week-long Outgames, which ended on Aug. 1, attracted 6,500 LGBT athletes and an estimated 20,000 spectators from myriad countries and was characterised by high-level political commitment from the Danish government. The rainbow flag – the international LGBT symbol – adorned the city hall and other buildings surrounding the main square in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen’s lord mayor, Ritt Bjerregaard, spoke at the opening extravaganza and also at the closing ceremony. Denmark’s prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, welcomed the Outgames as "an important signal of tolerance" in an interview with the country’s gay magazine Out & About. The event was marred by two attacks on participants. In both cases the Danish police, who assured participants of a "no tolerance" position on hate crimes, apprehended the assailants. No serious injuries were sustained.
On Aug. 1, the day of the closing ceremony of the Outgames, two youths were killed and eleven injured in a gun attack on a Tel Aviv lesbian and gay community centre. It is unclear whether the attack was linked to Tel Aviv’s participation as one of six "Outcities", each of which had its own stage showcasing dancers and other artists as part of the Outgames worldwide programme.
Homophobia gaining legal force
At the closing of the international human rights conference which formed part of the Outgames, the Ugandan LGBT activist Victor Juliet Mukasa called on LGBT activists present to stage protests at the Ugandan embassies in their countries in the coming weeks.
Uganda’s "ethics minister" is about to table an "anti-gay bill" in parliament which would outlaw LGBT human rights activism by banning literature and public speaking on LGBT issues. The bill is meant to cover the gaps in existing legislation, which already imposes a life sentence for male homosexual activity, by also instituting punishment for lesbian sexual activity. In an interview with IPS, Mukasa ascribed the backlash to religious fundamentalism. "The church is telling parents that homosexuals want to sodomise their children, that homosexuals are on a mission to destroy the heterosexual family."
Mukasa emphasised that same-sex practices were part of life before colonialism. "The British came with the draconian laws that criminalised homosexuality. People have forgotten this. Now homophobia has been made part of African culture." Homophobia has proven durable because politicians depend on church leaders for support, said Mukasa. Homosexuality is a red herring used to distract people from pressing issues such as unemployment and the perennial war in northern Uganda, she added.
Mukasa used to be the leader of the LGBT organisation Sexual Minorities in Uganda. Persecution by the Ugandan authorities forced her into hiding while she was still in Uganda. She has since left the country and now works for the New York-based non-governmental International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
Police searched Mukasa’s Kampala home in 2005 and sexually assaulted and harassed her and another activist, Yvonne Oyoo. Mukasa and Oyoo sued the attorney general in a case that led to the Ugandan high court declaring in 2008 that the state had violated their rights and that LGBT people also enjoyed the rights enshrined in the Ugandan constitution, regardless of being transgender or lesbian.
Bad legislation revived in Nigeria
On the other side of the African continent, in Nigeria, a bill banning same-sex marriage has made a comeback after activists mobilised successfully against it in 2007. Similar to the Ugandan law, the bill will infringe on freedom of expression and association as Nigerians will not be allowed to advocate for LGBT rights.
The resuscitation of the law has led human rights lawyer and trade unionist Yemisi Ilesanmi to take a position not just as a feminist but as LGBT activist. She has been building alliances between civil society organisations (CSOs) on the basis that LGBT rights are human rights, a topic that she addressed at the Outgames human rights conference. Other organisations are coming round to the position that this bill may pave the way to the state eventually also putting their human rights advocacy in the firing line. Ilesanmi is part of a campaign driving a petition which has been signed by other CSOs in protest against the bill.
The bill first saw the light in 2007, when South Africa was passing legislation to legalise same-sex marriage. Ilesanmi remarked to IPS that "African governments are afraid as they notice that internationally people with same-sex preferences are gaining more rights. They feel they better do something before it starts happening in their own countries. Some of those who want to sustain oppressive power relations are themselves gay or lesbian, Ilesanmi argued. "They believe they are living in sin and that it is morally wrong. They are told that they are possessed by the devil. They hate themselves but they can’t stop because it is natural."
Such internalised homophobia is passed down from generation to generation in Nigeria, Ilesanmi contended: "You believe what people around you are saying. There are no role models to show another way. You take for granted that sex should be between a man and a woman. If you have different feelings, you squash them. You just keep it to yourself because you think you are the only one."
Recognise Africa’s sexual diversity
Like Mukasa, Ilesanmi pointed out that same-sex practices existed in Nigeria from pre-colonial times, for example among the Calabar people in the country’s southeast. When a family has no sons, the eldest daughter takes a wife to whom she plays the role of husband. While the wife gets impregnated by men, the children are regarded as also those of the husband who keeps the family name. Who is to say that there is no sexual activity between husband and wife, Ilesanmi asked. But such possibilities are silenced by the forces of bigotry in Nigeria.
With so many people in the closet, it is not surprising that African representation at the Outgames was dismal. Even South Africa, which is singular in Africa in its constitutional prohibition of discrimination against homosexuals, had only a few representatives, most of whom were activists attending the human rights conference. As she again set about building a coalition to resist the anti-gay legislation, Ilesanmi reiterated, "I don’t think (homophobia in Africa is) about culture. Culture is dynamic and changeable. Rather, it is about people wanting others to conform to a stereotype of the family in order to keep gender relations unequal. They don’t want people to think outside of the norm because they want to control their lives."
August 6, 2009 – Gay City News
Copenhagen Welcomes World Out Games…Mood is buoyant despite bashing incident, Roman candle disruption
by Michael T. Luongo
They certainly are the Games that could, even if they have been a mix of trial and triumph. The worldwide recession could not stop them from happening; the Opening Ceremony was drenched by a thunderous downpour and later marred by a horrific gay bashing following the event, leaving three men in the hospital. Tuesday saw Roman candles, the kind of fireworks long banned in the United States, fired off in an attack on the track and field competitions. Yet none of this has put a significant damper on the World Out Games and the enthusiasm participants and most locals have for them.
The Games were woven into the fabric of the small Danish capital. According to Uffe Elbaek, the CEO of the World Out Games, “We made a conscious decision to hold events in the center of the town, rather than in stadiums far outside, so that locals could make a choice to come to the events and be part of them, whether they were gay or not. We wanted to bring the events to the people.”
Registration itself was one of the clearest examples of this — paperwork was processed at the Tivoli Gardens in Hans Christian Anderson Hall, one of the city’s most iconic tourist sites, named for Denmark’s most famous citizen, a man whose ambiguous sexuality has long been considered part of the country’s gay history. The liberal Danish welcome was even offered by churches. Many were ornamented with rainbow flags, their clergy offering blessings of same-sex couples.
Santa Fe native Michael Adee, a human rights activist and founder of the LGBT More Light Presbyterian group, said, “It’s an incredible experience to see how open and offering the Christian community in Copenhagen is. I look forward to one day in the US a city being this embracing and open.” The Opening Ceremony on Saturday, July 25, in Town Hall Plaza was a lively affair, with participants lining up next to the Town Hall, a massive brick and granite, neo-Medieval structure, with a clock tower rising from its gabled roof. The atmosphere was intensely festive, in spite of the cool temperatures and looming thunderclouds. Many of the athletes waved their nation’s flags, a global mix united by rainbow flags glowing against the gray sky.
Celebrating with other Team New Yorkers, Queens native Jenna Borroughs, in Copenhagen to play Women’s Ice Hockey, was doubly happy. “Today’s my birthday,” she said. “I feel the opening ceremony is for me, but that’s the Leo in me talking.” With an estimated contingent of 640 athletes, Americans are the second largest group of participants at the Games, behind the Danes.
More than 5,500 participants from 98 countries paraded through Town Hall Square, smaller than 2006’s Montreal Out Games, but still diverse, with participants from Botswana, Jamaica, Nepal, and many other developing countries in the mix. It was a strong visual for what Lord Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard, in her speech, said was part of the Out Games’ goals — to be able to “to love whomever we are in love with and to show it openly.” She called on everyone who attended to “leave the city as true citizens of Copenhagen, that means going by values of respect of diversity and freedom.”
Shortly after she spoke, the rain clouds burst, showering the stage, but the show continued, with circus acrobats like Anders Astrup Jensen and others suspended over the stage in ropes, metal bars, and billowing white sheets that fluttered like angel’s wings. Two of the men, performing as a couple, held onto each other’s powerfully sculpted muscular bodies, hugging, and at times kissing. Their act, all the more precarious and dangerous in the drenching rainfall, demonstrating beautifully the experience of same-sex couples in the real world — that in spite of all the adversity thrown at them, such love sustains itself.
Competitions are held across 34 sports categories, from tennis, to yoga, to curling and swimming. The swimming competition is the first sports event of any kind held in Copenhagen’s new Aqua Arena, Denmark’s premiere aquatic sports complex. Synchronized swimming also highlighted the city’s treasures, with a performance in Copenhagen Harbor in front of the city’s most famous site, the bronze Little Mermaid.
New Yorker Nestor Lara-Baeza, attending to play beach volleyball, was struck by the ease of traveling in Copenhagen and the camaraderie of the athletes. “It took us a lot less time to go from our hotel to the beach than it would have taken us to go from West Fourth to Central Park,” he said. “We’ve run into a few other volleyball players from some of the gay volleyball circuits in North America. I’ve never really hung out with so many gay people at once and not had any drama. I guess it’s the sports that keeps us sane and occupied enough to not get on each others’ nerves.”
There is much beyond sports at the Out Games. The concurrent Human Rights Conference is the largest gathering of gay leaders and politicians in the world, with more than 800 participants this year, some of whom are also in Copenhagen as athletes. John Ameachi, the famed openly gay basketball player, gave the keynote speech on July 27, bringing together the themes of LGBT equality and sports. Other LGBT leaders speaking included Virginia Apuzzo, a top White House official in the Clinton administration, and Suni Pant, Nepal’s first openly gay member of Parliament. On July 29, Mariela Castro, Cuban President Raul Castro’s daughter, was scheduled to speak on gay rights in the communist nation.
Cary Alan Johnson, the executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), likes the Conference for the access it gives him to so many activists in one place. “We get to see who our leadership is,” he said. “Meetings are held, and relationships are solidified. It is great for human rights groups to come here and get work done.”
Johnson spoke about India’s decriminalization of sodomy, saying the changes will have a tremendous impact throughout other former British colonies that had discriminatory Empire-era laws imposed on them that are still used against their LGBT citizens. “The wind has been taken out of their sails,” he said.
Culture is also a major component of the Games with the Out Cities program among the most visible projects. Waterfront street festivals full of art installations and music show off the cultures of Tel Aviv, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, and other cities. These have been attended by thousands, with gay athletes partying with locals, LGBT and straight alike. An LGBT Business Forum is also part of the programming, along with the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and the Queer Tango Festival, all of which contribute to the sense there is something for everyone at the Games, whether or not they are athletes.
Still, violent homophobia has raised its ugly head in liberal Copenhagen. On July 25, there was an attack after the Opening Ceremony by two drunken locals on three participants from England, Sweden, and Norway who had to be hospitalized. Organizers termed the attack an isolated incident, and the two men have been arrested. Two days later, a man launched Roman candle fireworks into the Track and Field competition, injuring Dean Koda of the Seattle Front Runners. Many American blogs and news sites reported multiple bombings that created shrapnel, accounts that apparently misrepresented the limited nature of the incident.
Erik Farso Madsen, press spokesman for the Out Games said, “There were no bombs, only firecrackers, but they can be dangerous enough.” Madsen indicated that security had been tight throughout all the events at the Games, commenting, “The good thing about it is the police are extremely active. Police were around, and the athlete ran after him [the attacker] and they caught him immediately.” Koda, Madsen said, went ahead and participated in his event.
Madsen said there had also been a declaration from Pia Allerslev, Copenhagen’s top cultural official, who said that a “lunatic spoiled the atmosphere,” of the Games. Otherwise, according to Madsen, “it’s business as usual” with no plans to change any of the events. The Out Games will end August 2, combining its closing festival with the annual Copenhagen Pride Parade. Usually held later in August, the parade was moved ahead of schedule this year in order to conclude the Games with a local focus.
More information on the events can be found at copenhagen2009.org.
26. August 2009 – Copenhagen 2009
A smashing success
Copenhagen World Outgames 2009 lived up to its promise and left the more than 5,500 participants from 92 countries, and the more than 200,000 tourists and Copenhageners who also took part, with praise and admiration for the week long festival of sports, culture and human rights.
From the opening ceremony at City Hall square – where participants were greeted with cheers and applause from more than 25,000 spectators – to the emotional closing at the same square, where at least 40,000 were on hand to celebrate Copenhagen Pride, World Outgames 2009 delivered more than 2200 program activities that inspired, entertained and left nearly everyone feeling happy to have been a part of it.
“Everything was absolutely fantastic,” said GLISA co-president Julia Applegate in an email to organizers after the event. “I saw opera from Mexico City, dance from Tel Aviv, disco from Antwerp, feminist rock from Melbourne, drag king theatre from Copenhagen. I attended a world class human rights conference with leading academics, activists and agitators from all corners of the world. I participated in an extremely well run swim meet…I had a blast and I am honored to have been part of it,” wrote Julia Applegate.
World Outgames week was not without unfortunate incident. There were isolated attacks on several participants registered as hate crimes. But nobody was seriously injured and the suspects were immediately arrested, charged and jailed by the police. “The hateful attacks on our peaceful participants during this happy celebration of diversity only served to highlight the importance of events like World Outgames,” said director of World Outgames 2009, Uffe Elbæk.
“There is still a lot of homophobia around the globe and the best way to combat that is to bring people together in forums like World Outgames that promote understanding and tolerance,” said Uffe Elbæk. Overall, World Outgames 2009 was a smashing success socially, politically and economically. Organizers did not exceed the budget and the final report is expected to end with a neutral result or a small plus.
September 16, 2009 – PinkNews
Nicole Kidman to star as trans painter
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
Actress Nicole Kidman is to play a a trans woman in an upcoming movie. The star will act the part of Danish painter Einar Wegener, who in 1930 was one of the first people to undergo gender reassignment. Wegener later took the name Lili Elbe and it is thought she may have been intersex or had Klinefelter’s Syndrome. She died in 1931 of complications after her fifth surgery.
The movie’s script is based upon David Ebershoff’s novel The Danish Girl and director Tomas Alfredson has confirmed production will soon begin. Alfredson began casting for the role by looking for a feminine man, but it is thought Kidman will now play the character before and after transition. Charlize Theron was booked to play the part of Gerda Wegener, the painter’s wife. However, she has since pulled out of filming. A replacement has not yet been announced.