After more than six years of planning, the world’s most significant LGBTI+ event of 2021 begins in Copenhagen and Malmö as WorldPride and EuroGames get underway.
Despite the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, organisers have pulled together an impressive schedule of more than 1,000 events spanning sport, human rights, culture and Pride taking place over 11 days. Thousands of international visitors will join Danes and Swedes in a global celebration of equality and diversity.
Lars Henriksen, Chair of Copenhagen Pride which holds the licence for WorldPride, said: “The immense pride we feel at being honoured to host the seventh WorldPride is only strengthened by the enormous challenge of organising this event in the midst of a pandemic that has affected so many people across the world. We are determined, and we are optimistic, that we will give hope for the future for LGBTI+ people everywhere, ensuring that these eleven days will have an impact for many years ahead.”
Christian Bigom, Chair of Pan Idræt which holds the licence for EuroGames, said:
“We never could have imagined the difficulties we would face in organising EuroGames during a pandemic but we are so happy that we can welcome so many participants not only to compete in sports, but to use the opportunity to make sure that sport is more inclusive and more diverse in the future. The Tokyo Olympics have shown how far we have still to go, and EuroGames in Copenhagen and Malmö will strengthen our determination and our demand for a place for every LGBTI+ person in sport.”
HRH The Crown Princess of Denmark, as Patron of Copenhagen 2021, will speak at several events including the Human Rights Conference where up to 1,000 activists and policy makers will discuss LGBTI+ equality and goals for the next decade. More than 250 scholarship recipients are coming from countries where LGBTI+ equality is far behind the Scandinavian nations. Also speaking at the Conference are the President of Iceland, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, and the UN High Commissioners for Refugees and Human Rights and many other political and civil society leaders.
At Christiansborg, 150 parliamentarians from around the world are invited by the Speaker Henrik Dam Kristensen for an Assembly to discuss global LGBTI+ equality, and to sign the Øresund Declaration of goals for equality by 2030. In Malmö, the Refugees, Borders & Immigration Summit will consider how LGBTI+ migrants can be better protected and served.
Two thousand athletes from more than 50 countries will compete in EuroGames, the LGBTI+ multi-sport event which this year includes tournaments in 22 sports. In collaboration with DGI Storkøbenhavn, the Sports To The People program includes more than 70 public sports activities across Copenhagen, and Islands Brygge is transformed into a Sports Village.
Concerts at KB Hallen which are live-streamed to Fælledparken have performances from international artists including Todrick Hall and Princess Nokia alongside Danish and Swedish artists including Freja Kirk, Theo X, Ängie and AQUA. Rådhuspladsen is transformed into WorldPride Square with a street-food market, bars, a performance area and big screen.
At Gammel Strand, Fluid Festival brings a program celebrating women, genderqueer and non-binary people with a blend of performances, speeches, talks, and space to relax and socialise. Huset KBH becomes a space for young LGBTI+ people, while Rainbow Children @ BLOX provides space for younger children and their families.
WorldPride’s Opening Parade takes place at Malmö Stadion on Thursday evening (12 August), followed on Saturday 21 August by six WorldPride Marches through the streets of Copenhagen, all meeting at Fælledparken for the closing ceremony at which EuroGames is handed to Nijmegen for 2022, EuroPride to Belgrade for 2022, and WorldPride to Sydney for 2023.
Culture institutions including Glyptoteket, The National Museum and the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen, and the Opera, Panora and Inkonst in Malmö are organising hundreds of events alongside over 100 other cultural partners, including performances, film, debates and immersive activities.
Malmö Live becomes WorldPride House, the hub of activities in Malmö, while Folkets Park becomes WorldPride Park. YouthPride is a safe and nourishing space for young LGBTI+ people to feel comfortable and free to express themselves. There will be seminars, workshops, and lectures, and other special activities.
Organisers recognise that not everyone who wants to come to WorldPride and EuroGames can do so and have therefore organised live-streaming or digital broadcast of more than 100 sessions at 25 events including concerts, conferences and seminars. The iconic Drag Night Concert is being streamed to entertainment magazine Time Out’s website in several countries.
Rainbow flags and decorations are appearing across Copenhagen and Malmö. The Øresund Bridge pylons and the Ørsted wind turbines at the Avedøre Power Station will be illuminated in the rainbow colours from tomorrow (Thursday 12) evening, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will project a rainbow into the sky towards Christiansborg, the seat of the Danish parliament, in a collaboration with artist Martin Ersted.
All events are taking place within the current pandemic guidelines and restrictions, and organisers have liaised with municipalities, health authorities and police to ensure they can take place safely. Information on testing and rules is published on the event website, and in a leaflet to be available to visitors at all venues.