By Mariya Alfa Staugaard
The volunteers during Copenhagen Pride Week are known as volunqueers. All it takes to volunteer is a profound respect for our values and the community between shared by LGBTI+ people and as well as allies.
Copenhagen Pride Week would not be what it is today, had it not been for the usually large gathering of volunteers who choose to spend their time and energy both before and during the event. Pouring beers, selling rainbow flags, managing security, or something entirely different, each and every volunteer is an important part of the unity that is Copenhagen Pride. For many of the volunteers, the community is a big part of the experience to do volunteer work for Copenhagen Pride. At the Copenhagen Pride Week 2020, a significantly lower amount of volunteers was needed during the changed circumstances, but those who came reported that the spirit of solidarity was intact. We talked with a few of them, on a rainy afternoon, about what it means to them to be a volunqueer.
Carsten (he/him) – Host in the Human Rights -programme
I am a host in the Human Rights -programme and have been for three consecutive years. My role is making sure events are properly set up and that the guests are well-received. To me, being a volunteer means I have found meaning with Copenhagen Pride. The Human Rights assembly aspect itself means that you can reach some certain groups with subjects, which is not possible in everyday life – even if it is not something you know about. All Danes should be forced to watch at least two debates – of their own choice! There is a big sense of community in volunteering. This year especially, as the whole Pride-family are gathered at the city hall square, and that makes the world of a difference. The coolest thing about volunteering is the community and to make a small difference in the world.
Kamille (she/her) – Pride Store
I have been a volunteer for Copenhagen Pride for the last three years. This year, I have sold merchandise at the Pride Store. It has gone really well, and we are selling a lot.
I think it is important to help out. It is an important cause, and because I’m bisexual, I believe it is important to show your support and be a part of that community, which I’m not so involved within my daily life. It is an awesome community and you get to know many lovely people. We are not just volunteers – we are joined together for a common cause.
The best thing about being a volunteer is witnessing the support from other people. Both people who are not a part of the community, but also LGBTI+ people whom you see waving their flags at our usual parade. It is amazing to watch people come in and be curious, also generations, which are not always so visible. Today, a woman came in wanting to learn more about pansexuality. It is great to see people who don’t know much about this field come in, wanting to learn about it.
Nuka (he/him) – Safety
This year, it’s the third time I volunteer at the Copenhagen Pride. At the moment, we are counting the number of people coming and leaving the square. We do this in order to make sure that the number of people agrees with security restrictions, which is important. The maximum number of people permitted in the square is 450 guests and 50 personnel.
I like volunteering for Copenhagen Pride. It is a small organisation, but with many visitors. It is a good experience when people smile at you and when people are having fun at the square. I meet many people, both newcomers and regulars, and make sure people are going in the right direction.
Karlsson (he/him) – Runner
It is my second time volunteering at Copenhagen Pride. I function as a runner at the square. My job is emptying the bins and getting food and water. I also go the rounds and assist people around the square.
The community is very important to me, it is good. It is fun when you can tease one another. And the tasks – you are able to try out new things which you’ve never done before.
It is nice to meet new friends whom you can trust and confide in. And it is awesome to meet new people – whoever they are.
Lars (he/him) – Bartender
My role in Copenhagen Pride is tending the bar. I have also always appreciated providing good service and seeing people smile. During the regular Pride, I usually function as bar supervisor.
Collectively, I have worked for the Pride for almost 14 years now, and I have enjoyed it so much – the community is amazing.
To me, volunteering for Copenhagen Pride means everything. There was one year, where I thought of going as a guest, but ended up volunteering anyway. I could not stand, not being here, I feel like a part of the Pride!
It is a community where we can support each other. We can all talk about our experiences, both as gay people, but we have also had many parents to LGBTI+ people join in and have heard their stories. My first year here, I stood next to a mother and her son, both are still a part of Copenhagen Pride today. It is amazing to see parents who are so supportive of the community. We have come a long way and we should be proud of that.
Annemette (she/her) Head of Volunteers
I am the head of volunteers at Copenhagen Pride. We are lucky, as many of our volunteers are veteran volunteers who look forward to coming back. Even though we do not talk to each other all year round, the jargon is back on track as soon as we enter the square. There is a real sense of solidarity, we help and support each other, wherever we can. This year, there have been a lot fewer of us than usual. Many core volunteers have not been here this year. In return, we have witnessed many newcomers, which is just lovely. So, it has been different, but also great.
Many of our volunteers are a part of the LGBTI+ community in their daily lives, so they already have a sense of belonging. I hope they feel well-treated and appreciated because this is important to us.
Furthermore, it is just awesome to see so many different people who meet and get to know each other, making a few wacky friendships along the way.
I believe it’s important that we find space for all volunteers. We are a diversity festival and it is our obligation to find space for people, including those, who have trouble finding space elsewhere.
Thinking of volunteering? At World Pride next year there will be plenty of opportunity to join the Pride community. Write to volunteer@copenhagen2021 to learn more.