This interview was broadcast in April 2021 on the #YouAreIncluded podcast, created by Copenhagen 2021 and hosted by cultural historian Anders Larsen – aka drag artist Chantal al Arab. In this episode, Anders sits down for a talk with Robin and Lukas, two young LGBTI+ people living in Copenhagen. The interview can be heard in full on your preferred podcast platform – just search for Copenhagen 2021. For this article, the interview has been shortened and lightly edited.
Anders: I remember when I first came out and started going to the clubs in Copenhagen – I didn’t always feel included in the community. I’m curious to learn what it’s like to be a young LGBTI+ person in Copenhagen today and have therefore taken the time to talk with Robin and Lukas. Thank you so much for being here!
Robin: Hi! My name’s Robin Andersen, I’m 22 years old and my pronouns are she/her. I currently work freelance with my own magazine, Triaudes.
Lukas: I’m Lukas, I’m 21, and my pronouns are he/him. I’m studying Humanities and Technology and besides from that, I work with the Copenhagen 2021 team on developing the youth venues for WorldPride.
Anders: Lukas, what is the work you’re doing with Copenhagen 2021?
Lukas: I work with the youth venues and we are really putting focus on developing a safe space for young people in the age group 13 to 18. It’s super important to me that we create a space where you can come as a young person, because when I was 15-16 I thought it was difficult to navigate a big event such as Pride. I felt pressure to be a certain way, to be a party monster, get drunk, be sexual – and, I mean, it was fun too, but I don’t want to put that pressure on young people.
Anders: Robin, you’re nodding, what do you recognize in this story?
Robin: I recognize the pressure in the community. You have to be a sexual being to be accepted. Also thinking about the whole MeToo movement going on now – it’s not a thing within the LGBTQIA+ community. There are so many things that have happened to me and my friends that shouldn’t have happened. At a young age, you’re vulnerable, and going into the club or a Pride environment can be so overwhelming that it’s hard for you to know what’s right and what’s wrong.
Anders: Let’s say I’m giving you a magic wand: You can now go out and fix everything in the LGBTI+ community in Copenhagen. Where would you start?
Lukas: I would fix how a lot of LGBTI+ people sexualize each other. I felt that a lot when I came out, that I had to have sex with a lot of men. That put a lot of pressure on me as a teenager and as a young adult, to really put my emotions aside and just focus on being super sexual. I want to take that pressure off young people.
Robin: When people say safe spaces… It’s like, there shouldn’t be something called safe spaces, the world should be safe for me! But I think if I had a magic wand, I would put a thought in people’s head that said, “you’re so much more than your sexuality, and you’re so much more than your gender expression or gender identity”.
Anders: I asked you to prepare a question for each other – Lukas, do you want to start?
Lukas: For sure! We talk a lot about the standard for how you have to look in the gay community in Copenhagen – did you feel that you had to look a certain way to be accepted in the community [before transitioning]?
Robin: For sure. It was a uniform that you put on. For a time, I tried so hard to appear like a cis man because I knew I would get accepted if I looked like that.
Lukas: It’s interesting to me, because I look like that, like the box you tried to fit into. It has made me understand my privileges more, and it makes me want to be a part of changing that.
Anders: Robin, your turn.
Robin: What advice would you give to your 15-year-old self?
Lukas: Try to be aware of your feelings and feel the room or the situation. Is it overwhelming? Is it comfortable? Listen to your gut – and sometimes don’t, don’t do it just because you’re drunk and it’s fun!
Anders: I think that’s wonderful advice. Thank you both so much for being here today!
The #YouAreIncluded podcast is made possible by Jemma Tracey and Steve Taylor from Copenhagen 2021 and is produced by hearHEAR. A new episode comes out every Thursday with inclusive discussions about sport, human rights, arts and culture, and Pride.
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