‘Danish’ town in California urged to ‘embrace Pride’ by Copenhagen’s Mayor

Intervention follows political opposition to Pride and burning of flags

Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Sophie Hæstorp Andersen has written to her counterpart in the Californian city of Solvang in the Santa Ynez Valley to urge him to give his local Pride the ‘full support’ of his municipality and local community.

The letter followed news reaching Copenhagen Pride that some in the city of Solvang – founded by Danish immigrants over a century ago – opposed Pride taking place in the town, citing ‘traditional values’. Rainbow flags were burned in the town last summer.

Solvang, which has landmarks including Tivoli Square and a Round Tower and celebrates its Danish links and heritage, has a population of 5,000 and lies 200km north of Los Angeles.

In her letter to Mayor Infanti, Lord Mayor Andersen charts the history of Pride in Copenhagen and says that Solvang should embrace Pride in the way that Copenhagen does. 

“In the spirit of friendship between our cities, I urge you to give Santa Ynez Valley Pride and your local LGBTI+ community the full support of your City Council, in the same way that 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,” she writes.

Lars Henriksen, Political Chairperson of Copenhagen Pride, said:

“I was stunned to hear about the opposition to Santa Ynez Valley Pride and smaller Pride events in Solvang, including the burning of rainbow flags. 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.”

Copenhagen Pride has said that it will replace every flag burned in Solvang last summer with two new flags. They will be sent to California in time for this summer’s Pride.

“We are always happy to help activists where we can, and we are fortunate to be able to do so with our Solidarity Fund. However, it’s a sad indictment of where things are heading when we need to offer assistance to friends in countries such as the USA, where the development seems to be headed in the wrong direction,” said Lars Henriksen. 

Read the full letter here

Photographer: Anthony Fomin via Unsplash

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