Pride in Finland’s oldest city shows how inclusive the country is

Pride in Turku, Finland
Pride in Turku, Finland Photo: Patricia Bertenyi

In Turku, Finland, the country’s oldest city and its former capital, thousands gathered in August last year for the city’s Pride Parade — officially a “protest march” — through the 13th-century streets and across the Aura River, which the Old City straddles.

Photographer Patricia Bertenyi was there to capture multiple images of the day’s events.

“All kinds of people—straight, gay, trans and all between—showed up to march for the colors and against bigotry,” Bertenyi tells LGBTQ Nation.

Pride in Turku
Patricia Bertenyi Pride in Turku, Finland

Finland ranks as one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly countries in Europe and the world, according to Equaldex, not far behind Iceland at #1 and neighboring Norway at #2. Large majorities believe Finland is a “good place” for gay and lesbian people (83%) and almost 90% are happy to have LGBTQ+ neighbors.

Bertenyi says there was a hint of apprehension in the air that August morning as the march stepped off following the election earlier in the year of Finland’s most conservative government in decades, a fact that could be attributed to Finnish voters’ get-tough reaction to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland joined NATO just weeks before going to the polls.

People showed up to march against bigotry as much as “the right-wing government that was elected that spring,” says Bertenyi. It was an inspiring show of solidarity and resilience.

“This day and march gave me hope,” the photographer says. “Still does as I look at the pics I took.”

Pride in Turku
Patricia Bertenyi Pride in Turku, Finland

Pride in Pictures is LGBTQ Nation’s annual series celebrating Pride across the country. We asked our readers to send in their pictures and stories of Pride and we got so many rainbows. Keep an eye out for more heartwarming stories to get you ready for Pride Month 2024.

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