EWS at the "LGBTQIA+ and Sports - Past, Present, Future" event and Helsinki Pride 2024

EWS Chair Tarja Krum and EWS Committee member Sarah Townsend participated in the "LGBTQIA+ and Sports - Past, Present, Future" event and the Helsinki Pride which took place in Helsinki, Finland, on 27-29 June 2024.

The event “LGBTQIA+ and Sports – Past, Present, Future” hosted at the HOBO Hotel, Helsinki on June 27 by The Swedish Corner* collaboration offered participants a glimpse of the past with the EGLSF exhibition ‘Against the Rules’ and then, via a presentation and panel discussion, focused on how the LGBTQI+ community exists in the current sporting landscape and how sport could be more accessible for all in the future.  


Sarah Townsend, member of ENGSO EWS Committee, president of the sports club Activ’Elles and former co-chair of the European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation (EGLSF), presented the current challenges that LGBTQI+ community in Europe is facing, focusing on the historical perspective and highlighting the socio-economic context. 


Sarah Townsend also took part in the panel discussion moderated by Tarja Krum and Lotta Nylund from Finlands Svenska Idrott, with participants Sabina Lumivirta, Educational Consultant, City of Helsinki, and Lina Bonde, chair of Regnbågsallians Svenskfinland rf. The panel addressed the challenges and learning from the recent gender-neutral school championships in Helsinki. 

Helsinski Pride 2024 Ews
Ews At Helsinki Pride 2024

Tarja Krum and Sarah Townsend also took part in the Helsinki Pride 2024 which was held on Saturday, June 29, with a parade and a park celebration, attracting over 100,000 participants. This year’s theme, “Peace and Hope,” was chosen to emphasise the need for both in changing the world. They participated in the Pride parade in Helsinki with the Finnish Olympic Committee and 40 other Finnish sports organisations. For the fourth consecutive year, the sports community formed its own team for the open Pride procession. Participating in Pride Week sends an important message that sports are for everyone.


Achieving equality and human rights in sports requires respecting diversity and allowing everyone to be themselves. There is still  plenty of room for improvement for the LGBTQ+ community, which is why this issue needs to be highlighted more strongly and regularly in sports.


*The Swedish Corner is a collaboration between Finnish-Swedish organisations that work for the rights of LGBTQIA+ people. The organizations included are: Barnavårdsföreningen, FDUV, Finlands Svenska Idrott, Folkhälsan, HelsingforsMission, Luckan, Psykosociala Förbundet, Regnbågsallians Svenskfinland och SAMS – Samarbetsförbundet kring funktionshinder.


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