Helsinki Pride festival focuses on diversity
The Helsinki Pride festival week got underway on Monday. The event aims to promote the rights of sexual minorities with an array of discussion forums, art happenings and club nights.
This year, Helsinki Pride is focused on the principle of respecting diversity.
Helsinki Pride consists of parties, meetings and discussions, the highlight being the Pride Parade through the city centre on Saturday. Free expression of sexuality and gender as well as the promotion of rainbow subcultures are at the core of the festival agenda.
Organisers say that the challenge of Helsinki Pride is in bringing different kinds of people together to discuss and debate even on subjects sometimes considered touchy.
There is also a separate Pride Youth programme for young people that runs parallel to and as a part of the other events of the week.
The first Pride festival was organised by the Helsinki chapter of SETA, a gay rights lobby group in 1975.
The patron of this year's festival is Minister for Culture and Sports Paavo Arhinmäki.