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Progression for the last Nordic country without equal LGBT rights

10% of the Faroe Islands´ population gathered for the third annual Gay Pride celebration in the small country’s capital city, Torshavn. This is a dramatic change for last Nordic country without full equal rights for its LGBT citizens.

 

Last time a Gay Pride parade was organized in the Faroe Islands was in 2007. That time only a few hundred people showed up. However, that number had grown to more than 5,000 people for this year’s celebrations, as the streets of the somewhat traditional and conservative country were filled with people asking for equal LGBT rights.

The Faroe Islands are located between Iceland and Norway and the country’s 50,000 citizens make up one of the world’s smallest countries. For most of Faroese history, its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community existed almost exclusively underground. With a lack of role models and social support, LBGT individuals frequently chose to move to mainland Europe or remain closeted, rather than facing the challenges of coming out in the absence of an active LGBT community.

With the founding of LGBT Føroyar, the Faroe Islands’ National Organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered People, on June 1st, 2011, that all changed. In the short time since its inception, the non-profit organisation has organised two highly publicized national advertising campaigns and organized numerous events. These include the annual Faroe Pride parade and concert, political meetings, monthly social gatherings, and bi-annual gala parties. LGBT Føroyar has also been politically active and constantly tries to lobby for equal rights with gay marriage being the main political priority for the organization at the moment.

The Faroe Islands is currently the only Nordic country without civil unions or gay marriages and there are no laws allowing gay adoption or insemination. After a lengthy and aggressive battle, anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation were introduced in 2006.

However, the hard work LGBT Føroyar has put into the fight for equality, seems to be paying off as record numbers of supporters joined this year’s Pride and a new gay marriage bill planned to be introduced this fall, is currently dividing the members of parliament 50/50. Such a bill with nearly half of parliament behind it would have been unthinkable only a few years ago in the Faroe Islands.

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