Credit: Courtesy

The Lord Mayor of Copenhagen sent a letter Tuesday to her counterpart in Solvang, urging Mayor Mark Infanti and the city council to give their “full support” to the town’s LGBTQ community. Sophie Hæstorp Andersen’s entreaty came in response to a recent vote by the council to deny a proposal to hang banners and paint crosswalks in celebration of Pride Month this June. 

“Your city’s status as ‘the Danish capital of America’ is something that you rightly cherish,” wrote Andersen, who also referenced the recent theft and burning of Pride flags in the area. “This opposition to Pride does not reflect the genuine warmth and acceptance to Pride that can be seen across Denmark and especially in Copenhagen.” 

Andersen reminded Infanti and the council, who cited Danish “tradition” as part of their justification for rejecting the proposal, that her country is among the most progressive in the world and has a long history of embracing its LGBTQ people. Since the 1970s, she said, its capital has hosted Pride events, and in 2021 the city put on WorldPride, the biggest celebration of its kind anywhere on the planet.

“In the spirit of friendship between our two cities,” Andersen stated, “I urge you to give your local LGBTI+ community the full support of your city council, in the same way the Municipality of Copenhagen wholeheartedly supports Copenhagen Pride for the benefit of all Copenhageners, and to show the world that respect and acceptance are vital elements in a modern, welcoming society.”

In his own statement, Lars Henriksen, political chairperson of Copenhagen Pride, said his organization had specifically asked Andersen to contact Infanti. “I was stunned to hear about the opposition to Santa Ynez Valley Pride and smaller Pride events in Solvang,” he said. “We brought WorldPride to Copenhagen precisely because we are a beacon for LGBTI+ equality and acceptance globally, and so the opposition to Prides in Solvang is far from reflecting the values we cherish in Denmark and Copenhagen. We had to ask our Lord Mayor to write to Mayor Infanti and we sincerely hope he hears her friendly message.”

Henriksen said his group is sending two new Pride flags to Solvang to replace the ones that were stolen. “We are always happy to help activists where we can, and we are fortunate to be able to do so with our Solidarity Fund,” he said. “However, it’s a sad indictment of where things are heading when we need to offer assistance to friends in countries such as the U.S.A.,” where the trend of tolerance seems to be moving “in the wrong direction.”

Infanti did not respond to a request for comment.

Get News in Your Inbox


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.