First political gay group founded in Helsinki

July 27, 2006

HELSINKI, Finland — The first political LGBT association, Pink Rose, was founded in Finland during the Helsinki Pride 2006 at the beginning of this month.

Association Pink Rose is based on Social Democratic values and its aim is to enhance discussion about the rights of sexual minorities in Finland, especially among the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Although the position among sexual minorities in Finland is rather good, tolerance and attitudes toward LGBT-people are still sometimes strained.

One of the founders and the president of Pink Rose, Jani Ryh�nen, says that association that is focused only for LGBT-rights, has been much needed among SDP.

�Background work for Pink Rose has been done since 2003, and after three years of hard work time to launch the association has finally come, � he said.

Although one of the main values for SDP is equality and mutual respect of each other, there are still some individuals who do not consider LGBT-issues as part of the equality work.

�The founding of the Pink Rose is an excellent example of a work what people can do by themselves to promote equality in our party,� Mr. Ryh�nen added.

He hopes, that colleagues in other countries, where there are no LGBT-associations based on social democratic values, will follow the example and start their own associations.

Pink Rose is open for everyone regardless of a person�s sexual orientation. In this way Pink Rose wants to stress that fight for LGBT-rights is everyone�s task, not only for sexual minority themselves.

Interest in the new association has been huge. The day Pink Rose was founded, the second vice president of the Finnish Social Democratic Party and Minister of Labour, Tarja Filatov, joined the association.

Another member of the Pink Rose board, and a member of the Finnish Parliament, Susanna Rahkonen, emphasized the importance of the association.

�The way that Pink Rose gathers people together is a good example of how to modernize traditional party structures,� she said. – Issued by Gay Link Content, story from www.ukgaynews.

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