When the Danish national football team beat the Czech Republic in the quarter final of the European Football Championships earlier this month, the streets of Copenhagen exploded with massive celebrations. Although Covid-19 restrictions are still in place, thousands gathered to laud the historical event.

Social media postings of the huge crowds of people partying without any social distancing led Copenhagen Pride to address the Danish authorities’ hypocritical Covid-19 enforcement that limits next month’s WorldPride and EuroGames festivities but were seemingly ignored during the European Football Championships. 

Football Vs Pride

“Right now we are celebrating football triumphs together and partying. In five weeks we could potentially lift the trophy as world champions in LGBTI+ rights when we host the biggest human rights event in the world. Unfortunately, politicians maintain strict Covid-19 restrictions for WorldPride and EuroGames, which underlines how LGBTI+ rights are not a priority,” Copenhagen Pride wrote on their Facebook page.

The Facebook post sparked debate as critics deemed the football victory important to the entire nation while the WorldPride-events only concerned a minority of people.

Director of WorldPride, Lars Henriksen, addressed the matter on a live stream on Monday: “There is no such thing as LGBTI+ rights. It is simply human rights and they apply to all humans. It should therefore be a mutual goal to ensure that everyone can enjoy these rights”, he said.

When It Rains It Pours

The Danish discrepancy came shortly after organizers of the European Football Championships experienced criticism with Qatar hosting next year’s championships and UEFA’s rejection of illuminating the Munich stadium in rainbow colors.

Lars Henriksen also pointed out the problematic series of events in the live stream: “Football can be a very exclusionary community for both women and LGBTI+ people, and while some have been addressing the homophobia and transphobia existing within football, bigger organisations such as UEFA have failed to do so with their divergent opinions”, he said.

While being frustrated with the unequal enforcement of restrictions with the two events, Lars Henriksen emphasised that the problem does not lie within the sport of football. 

“The problem is not that football is prioritized but the fact that human rights are not”, he said.

Regardless of restrictions and confusing priorities, Copenhagen Pride still remains confident about moving forward with all of the events next month.

“We are conducting the world’s largest human rights conference and even though we clearly do not have the same political support as football, it will not break us. The fight is not over”, they said on their Facebook page.


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