Danish MP’s gay Hans Christian Andersen festival dubbed a ‘silly suggestion’

An MP in Denmark has prompted debate after suggesting the country organise a week-long festival aimed at gay couples in honour of the writer Hans Christian Andersen, the Telegraph reports.

The idea, proposed by Trine Bramsen, the Social Democrat MP for the writer’s birthplace, Funenn, was dubbed a “silly suggestion” by a political opponent, with others questioning whether Andersen was gay, or even bisexual.

Bramsen said: “There is so much palaver about Hans Christian Andersen’s sexuality, and I think we should use it.

“It should be a week where gays from all over the world can come to the island of Funen.”

Vivi Jelstrup, of the Danish Gay and Lesbian association, said: “To my knowledge, Andersen was not homosexual, but bisexual. It appears from his diaries that he alternately fell in love with men and women.”

Andersen appeared to have experienced unrequited love for both men and women in his life.

In a letter to a friend, Edvard Collin, in 1835 he wrote: “I long for you as though you were a beautiful Calabrian girl.”

Andersen also wrote to the Grand Duke of Weimar in 1847: “On that cool evening, when you took your cloak and threw it around me, it warmed not only my body, but made my heart glow still more ardently.”

Although he went on to spend summers with the Grand Duke, no evidence exists of Andersen ever having had a sexual relationship with a man.

Denmark recently announced the introduction of full marriage equality rights for gay couples.

Denmark was the first country in the world to legalise same-sex unions, in 1989, and acts of homosexuality were decriminalised in 1933.