New York City passes WorldPride to Copenhagen and Malmö

As the incredible month-long WorldPride celebrations draw to a close in New York, the cities of Copenhagen and Malmö are already gearing up for 2021’s event — the first to be hosted in two countries.

Denmark and Sweden will be joining forces to deliver a truly international parade spread between the two cities, which are connected over a narrow strait by the 16km Öresund Bridge. The combined event has been named Copenhagen 2021.

Taking to the stage at the end of New York’s WorldPride, Lars Henriksen, chair of Copenhagen Pride announced: “Now we hope you’ll all join us in in two years’ time to write the next chapter in our movement’s history.

“Our two countries have a proud history of championing equality and standing up for our community. WorldPride 2021 will continue this proud tradition of blazing the trail by shining a light on the barriers that LGBTQ+ people still face around the world.”

An estimated 3 million people visited New York for this year’s WorldPride, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots where a homophobic police raid led to a backlash that fuelled the modern-day LGBT+ rights movement.

Putting inclusivity “front and centre”

The organisers of 2021’s WorldPride are expecting a minimum of 750,000 visitors from Europe’s LGBT+ community, as well as thousands more who will be coming for the multi-sporting event EuroGames which will be held at the same time.

Pride-goers can look forward to an 11-day festival consisting of hundreds of events including open-air concerts, art exhibitions and movie screenings — most which are expected to be free of charge. There will also be an international conference and an open-for-all democracy festival to raise awareness of LGBT+ rights around the world.

“We will seek to leverage WorldPride as a platform to raise awareness among the public, educate our own community, elevate LGBTQ+ issues around the world, and amplify the voices of activists,” Henriksen said. “And we will do so by putting inclusivity front and centre. We strive to make sure that everyone, whomever they love or however they identify, will feel included.”

The LGBT-friendly capital of Europe

Denmark has a long history of supporting LGBT+ rights after becoming the first country to legalise same-sex unions as early as 1989. In 2014 and again in 2017, the capital city Copenhagen was named the most LGBT-friendly place on earth by travel publisher Lonely Planet.

Copenhagen made a bid for the festival back in 2017 with a 2-minute video entitled: “What is love?”

The former Prime Minister of Denmark signed a letter of support in bidding for the event, and the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen also gave his backing.

On being granted the title of WorldPride host, he said: “Back in 1989, I was a member of the national parliament and was a part of a push for the legalisation of same-sex unions. 30 years after that historic decision, I am proud to be Lord Mayor in a city with a LGBTI+ policy. In Copenhagen, everyone should be able to live the life they want and be the person they are.

“I am proud that our city will host WorldPride in 2021, and I am excited to welcome everyone that wants to join us in open-minded and free-spirited Copenhagen for the WorldPride.”