Members of a National Coalition-affiliated student organisation participated in the Pride Parade in Helsinki in June 2018. Helsinki Pride on Tuesday announced its partners at this year’s parade will include youth and student organisations associated with both the Centre and National Coalition, both parties whose partnership applications were rejected earlier this year. (Timo Jaakonaho – Lehtikuva)


ORGANISATIONS linked to the Centre and National Coalition have been accepted as official partners of Helsinki Pride.

Helsinki Pride on Tuesday announced its board has agreed on partnerships with Kansallinen Sateenkaariryhmä – Kasary, Finnish Centre Youth and Finnish Centre Students. A partnership invitation has been extended also to Tuhatkunta, the student union of the National Coalition.

“We sincerely appreciate the long-term efforts these actors have made toward human rights. We have more goals that bring us together than separate us,” the advocacy said in a press release.

The announcement came roughly a week after it was reported that the gender and sexual minority advocacy has turned down the opportunity to partner with the Centre and National Coalition for Helsinki Pride 2023.

Senni Moilanen, the board chairperson at Helsinki Pride, confirmed to Helsingin Sanomat on Friday that the decision was made on grounds of the parties’ handling of the trans act reform.

Both the Centre and National Coalition defined the reform as an issue of conscience, the former accounting for 13 and the latter for 10 of the 69 votes cast against the reform in the Finnish Parliament on 1 February. The National Coalition was also the only opposition party to lend support to the reform, with 26 of its 37 lawmakers supporting it, thus ensuring it passed despite opposition from the Centre, a part of the ruling majority coalition.

The reaction has stirred up frustration particularly within the National Coalition.

Chairperson Petteri Orpo last week described the decision to reject the party’s partnership application as unusual and offensive to numerous members of the party.

“Following the public debate, we are still disappointed with the decision made by Helsinki Pride Community on the partnership of the National Coalition, but hopefully this co-operation allows us to build a bridge for future years,” Konsta Nupponen, the chairperson of Kasary, stated on Tuesday.

The Centre Party-affiliated partners, meanwhile, highlighted that they have pushed their parent organisation to stand up more resolutely for human rights.

“We thank the organisation for the discussion as the result of which our actives can, if they choose to, participate in the [Pride] event through a Centre-affiliated organisation. We have shared goals,” said Aleksi Sandroos, the chairperson of Finnish Centre Students.

Helsinki Pride on Tuesday stated that it is willing to continue dialogue with the parties, outlining that all organisations that support the equality and non-discrimination of gender and sexual minorities are welcome as its partners.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT