As the world continues to recover from the trauma of 2020 and Pride flags begin to unfurl across gayborhoods foreign and domestic, all eyes are on Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden. Both cities will host WorldPride. Copenhagen will also host EuroGames, an LGBTQ+ sporting event that draws thousands of open-minded, free-spirited athletes and fans every year. However, this year’s WorldPride is particularly meaningful.
For the first time, WorldPride will use its platform to raise awareness of injustices across the globe, particularly as it pertains to equality, queer migrants, transgender rights, and discrimination. While there have been similar forums at past WorldPride events in New York, Madrid, and Toronto, it’s never been integrated within the general program as it is this year.
“The pandemic has shown the entire world that freedom and liberty can be taken away from anybody, at any stage, at any time,” says Aron le Fèvre, director of human rights at Copenhagen 2021 (pictured below). “We want to use the forum to magnify issues the community faces around the world, focusing on agenda points that we share with a lot of executive partners and international organizations — for instance, decriminalization, banning conversion therapy, the rise of LGBTQ+ refugees, and parliamentary cooperation. Those are elements that are extremely important on a world level.”
Le Fèvre, whose résumé includes a stint with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he found his calling as an LGBTQ+ activist, explains that now is the moment for us to seize an opportunity to change hearts, minds, and systemic injustices.
“In over 70 countries, the community is still being put in prison for being [LGBTQ+]. Twelve countries are still sentencing community members to death,” he explains. “It’s very important we’re making sure the focus on human rights is not getting lost somewhere in all the other events being organized. The money that we use for an event like WorldPride is money we could otherwise have been using to develop and support communities in the global south. It is the responsibility of organizers of these kinds of events all over the world to make sure this message keeps on popping up. Governments are also extremely important, and we’re very lucky to have a pro-LGBTQ+ government in the United States right now, but it’s also quite a burden. There’s some weight on the shoulders of the United States government because they are a country in the world that has the most power to get this message out there and to put pressure on countries that are not obeying these basic human rights.” Copenhagen2021.com
This story is part of Out's 2021 Pride Issue, which is on newsstands on now! To get your own copy directly, support queer media and subscribe — or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.