Rainbow-coloured flags outside the Helsinki City Hall in June 2021. YLE on Thursday reported that the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Transport and Communications, both of which are led by Finns Party lawmakers, will not participate in any form in this year’s Pride Helsinki. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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TWO MINISTRIES led by Finns Party lawmakers will not participate in Helsinki Pride 2024.

YLE on Thursday reported that Pride, an annual month-long event promoting the inclusion, rights and well-being of gender and sexual minorities, will not be reflected in any form in the activities of the Ministry of Justice or the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

“The Ministry of Justice won’t be participating in the event as a ministry, nor will it be communicating about it,” Katja Huumo, the director of communications at the ministry, said to YLE.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications has also specifically prohibited its staff from attending the event during work time, according to the public broadcasting company.

The ministries are led by Minister of Justice Leena Meri (PS) and Minister of Transport and Communications Lulu Ranne (PS).

Annu Kemppainen, the executive director of Helsinki Pride, stated to Helsingin Sanomat on Thursday that the lack of support from the ministries has been a disappointment to Helsinki Pride Community.

“I’m disappointed that there’s been such a systematic decision,” she said, adding that she is nonetheless not surprised by the boycott of the Finns Party. “Its party platform didn’t have any proposals that’d promote the rights and well-being or rainbow folk.”

The decision, though, is also an indication of the significance of the event, according to Kemppainen.

“You don’t have to go too far back in time when this kind of talk about participation didn’t even exist. The systematic exclusion tells that we’re talking about a significant event and important issues that should be discussed.”

Only few members of the current government have confirmed their participation in Helsinki Pride, according to reporting by Demokraatti, the official mouthpiece of the Social Democratic Party: Minister of European Affairs and Ownership Steering Anders Adlercreutz and Minister of Youth, Sport and Physical Activity Sandra Bergqvist from the Swedish People’s Party, as well as Minister of Social Security Sanni Grahn-Laasonen and Minister of Climate and the Environment Kai Mykkänen from the National Coalition.

The ruling four-party coalition also comprises the Christian Democrats and Finns Party.

Kemppainen on Thursday said to Helsingin Sanomat she is delighted that four ministers will attend the event. “The participation of ministers is tremendously important because it sends a signal about the importance of the issue to minorities and their loved ones. The message is also that rainbow folk are welcome in society.”

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) has yet to make a definitive statement on his possible participation. To Demokraatti, he said he has yet to “look into” the issue.

“My message to Orpo is that it’s good that he hasn’t systematically ruled out [participation in] Pride,” said Kemppainen. “The prime minister’s attendance at the march would contribute to the dialogue about the rights of rainbow folk in politics.”

In Helsinki, the Pride month will be celebrated throughout June. The celebrations will culminate in Helsinki Pride Week on 24–30 June, highlighted by the Parade and Park Fest on 29 June.

The Centre and National Coalition were last year not accepted as official partners of the event after some of their lawmakers had opposed the trans act in parliament. This year, though, the event has welcomed all political entities that are committed to working toward prohibiting conversion therapies.

The list of partners currently includes the Finnish Centre Youth and National Coalition in Helsinki.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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