Helsinki Pride Week was recently launched, and in the midst of this busy working week I too feel the urge to comment on the subject. For despite being complex, important, and a source of joy, sexuality and gender are also political and social factors – which also makes them tools that can be used to exercise power. Rights movements like Pride and #metoo are surely needed, so that everyone can concentrate on embracing their own sexuality without fear, shame or problems induced by unnecessary classification.
I am now speaking boldly both for myself and for Huld – as we at Huld stand behind the notion of accepting and supporting everyone as they are or might be.
It has been such a delight to see how my own children, now teenagers, have grown to be members in a society that is progressive when it comes to dealing with emotions, self-awareness, tolerance and a broad perception of the world. If these youngsters represent the future, we are in good hands.
For the fact is, that binary classification is way outdated. Nowadays, we are allowed to be who we truly are, and to be accepted as such. It is not up to me or you to force someone into a category – let it be man–woman, gay–straight, or any of the other, seemingly unending possibilities. I was amazed to discover that the youth of today tend to discard labels like assumed gender or sexual orientation, and instead respect and appreciate a person’s individual human characteristics such as sensitivity, strength, mellowness, bravery, toughness, introversion, openness, shyness and so on. Instead of acting according to stiff, gender-based stereotypes, humans of today are evaluated based on how well they know themselves and get along with their own, personal characteristics. Which is a determining factor in how well they tolerate, value and respect other people around them.
Judging and condemning others is always first and foremost a tell-tale sign of the person’s own set-of-mind. The characteristics we loath in others are often just the ones we cannot stand in our own person.
In honor of the Pride Week, I wish you all tolerance and open-mindedness. To practice these things, one should always ask oneself the following questions: What am I like? What do I enjoy? How do other people see me? Am I forced into a category that restricts my life? Am I limited by my own thoughts, or by someone else’s vision of me? Am I free to be myself and do the things I am passionate about?
As the Finnish author and psychiatrist Claes Andersson said: We should all seek contact even with the darkest corners of our being. This is no less true when it comes to our sexuality, and recommended even in cases where no “darkness” seemingly exist: to ponder on ourselves and try to understand our deepest thoughts is a good endeavor for anyone – as well as accepting one’s true self. The results of self-seeking are beneficial for everyone: to us, as we gain more confidence and get at fuller life, and to others around us, when we no longer feel the need to judge both friends and strangers.
Vice President, Global Growth