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The Your Stories section is all about you! Please take a minute to tell visitors of the ILGA website about what LGBTI life is like in reality. Please submit your personal story and share your experience!

YOUR STORIES
Share your experiences in FINLAND - Let others know what it’s like to be LGBTI in your country! If an experience is meaningful for you, it will probably be meaningful for someone else. On whatever topic, whether good or bad, your story is how the world knows about your country and LGBTI life. By selecting tags that mark the topic your story, others can learn from your experience.
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Readers Experiences

This is what people are saying about life for LGBTI people in FINLAND...
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stephan pierre (user currently living in FINLAND) posted for bisexual readers on 15/11/2013 tagged with human rights +5
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https://www.facebook.com/events/1416522218564513/ This will happen in London, Norway, Finland and other countries tomorrow at 14.00.

Kind regards.

Stephan Pierre
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heli maarit yletyinen (user currently living in FINLAND) posted for readers on 18/10/2013 +5
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hello, i have learned that in india there are 5-6 million men as opeterated to women. i am 50 and just found out we are many in finland. finnish woman are so strong but this fact just covered the stories and not spoken truth that so many women were originally born men. so i like more men and have issue of my sexuality. now as i know i do understand myself much more. there were things on my heart i did´t understand before this secret came out.
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Hanna K. Rantala (user currently living in FINLAND) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 17/04/2013 tagged with at the work place, human rights, laws and leadership , sexual orientation
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Making Our Struggles Visible: Advances in LGBTI rights demand courage and solidarity

These weeks of early spring 2013 gay rights have made the headlines in newspapers across the globe. Equal marriage bill is being debated in United States, Brazil, Colombia and Finland.
12 countries have granted the equal right to marry to same-sex couples after Uruguay's decision to legalise same-sex marriage. Earlier this week the French national assembly approved "Marriage to all" bill increasing expectations of equal marriage.

At the dawn of a brighter future, I was reminded of the importance of providing media coverage to these advances; for worldwide the battle for equality is nowhere near to be finished. LGBTI rights are a question of survival and a pending human rights issue. I will share you a story which happened to me this late March in 2013. The event took place on diplomatic grounds in Finland, hence, beyond the reach of local anti-discrimination measures.

I had written a solid application for a job, and was soon called for a round of interviews. I made it to the last stage. At first it seemed very promising. I was being congratulated for an excellent application, my broad experience and language skills. Soon the awkward question popped up: "Are you married?" I answered simply "No, I am not." This led my high-ranking interviewer onto the follow-up: 螯覚 you have a boyfriend?The seemingly obvious response "Yes, I am in a relationship" did not occur at that instant. Instead, I opted for the gender-neutral choice "Yes, I have a life partner." My interviewer got slightly confused. After confusing the pronouns him/her in his speech, he looked at me and said: "So, you do have a boyfriend or what?" Feeling puzzled about what my relationship actually had to do with the position in question, I decided to be frank and not lie about who I am. He had, in fact, asked me a straight-forward question and deserved an honest response: "I have a girlfriend", I said.

From there on, my interview turned into an odd quiz about [my] sexual orientation. Despite my ongoing efforts to steer the conversation back into the topic, my experience and professional strengths, I found myself with no resorts. Over the next 45 minutes, I was directed with questions that ranged from the age in which I had discovered my orientation (if I knew what was meant with it) to the citizenship and life interests of my girlfriend, and further along to whether I had preferred female or male teachers, if I got along with people regardless their gender, if I held grudge against some women, and which one of us two was the dominating one in the relationship.

My interviewer kept on assuring me that my sexual orientation was not a decisive factor. Yet, in the midst of it, I was never given the chance to defend myself for the job. Somehow, my private life had become the factor that defined me as a professional. I could have interrupted him. But I knew that this was a well-educated bigot who was not going to offer me the job. Instead, this was my chance to set some miss-guided presumptions straight.

This experience forced me to ask myself a question, pondered by many others before me: where should we draw the limit between acting professional and being political? How far can we go in respecting our privacy? Can we actually afford to stay quiet?

I am someone who considers private life private. I firmly believe that our personal lives should have no bearing over how we are perceived as professionals. That it is no concern of our employer's with whom we share our lives. I also think that office hours are office hours, and that personal issues are best left outside. However, we are social beings and sooner or later one of your colleagues will want to know a bit more about you. Then if an acquaintance assumes you straight, is it alright for us to stay quiet?

Recent evidence in United States shows that people seem more willing to support equal right to marriage if they know personally someone who is gay. I know this. Still, I am ashamed to confess that I have confided in separating the private from the public and hidden behind my deceiving appearance as a straight woman. Twice have I found myself cornered up and closeted at work. This has made me feel like a liar and a cheat. It has really made me question my values and beliefs, for I know that the advances in LGBTI rights have come about because ordinary people have had the courage to stand up and fight. I know that if we want to improve our status as equal, worthy and capable citizens and professionals, we must make our lives and battles visible. We must turn the private into public.

In contrast to the 12 countries with equal right to marriage, a third of the countries world-wide consider homosexuality a crime. In nine countries it is punishable by death. Many others have approved anti-discrimination measures to varying degree. No matter which end of the spectrum, there are no guarantees that we are not discriminated against.

My story is not unique. Around the world people are killed, attacked, harassed, bullied and many are at risk of losing their work because of their sexual orientation or gender. The denial of equal rights and the lack of effective anti-discrimination measures threaten the lives and livelihoods of many people like me. Being outspoken probably cost me the job. Paradoxically, it made me more determined to make my life count. I was reminded that LGBTI rights are human rights. They are a global issue. And that advances towards equality can be achieved only through tremendous acts of courage and solidarity.
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ftm (user currently living in FINLAND) posted for transgender readers on 02/02/2011 tagged with gender identity
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I'm a ftm transsexual living in Finland. In Finland we need a trans-diagnosis from a doctor to (more easyly) get threatments and juridical changes. There are only two doctors in the country who can give the diagnosis. I tried to get it but was denied because i have depression. I then started taking testosterone on my own. I tried to get my name changed without a doctors recomendation but was denied. I complained to the court and am now waiting for their decicion. It's very hard living with these official documents.

Two years ago i was in a psychiatric hospital because my depression. They told me i'm a girl all the time, tried to force me to use the womens bathroom, called me with my official womens name and sometimes they even laughed when i said i'm not a girl. I know other transsexuals with the same experiences from psychiatric hospitals from recent years. They tell people they will never get hormones and force ftm's to use dresses. This happens mostly to people under 18 and noone seems to care.
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Lynda (user currently living in UNITED STATES) posted for transgender bisexual readers in response to this story on 16/07/2010 tagged with hate crime and violence prevention +5
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This is a very disturbing story. I feel very sorry for this girl and hope that she can find a way to resolve her very real concerns. I am a pre op MTF living in Hawai'i and have had some level of unwanted and unwarranted harassment, not quite as bad as this, and it is extremely frightening.
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posted for readers in response to this story on 05/05/2010
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move to Thailand - the culture here is very tolerant of trans-gender persons.
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posted for transgender readers on 07/03/2010 tagged with hate crime and violence prevention
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Tranphobia in Finland:

I am a Male to Female pre op transexual, and I was stopped on the street and immediatelly beaten because of my gender. The agressor hit on the floor, said very agressive words ("you are a f**king man! You don't have a pussy to have lipsticks or a hat like this") and was demanding to have my hair cut ("you have 1 minute to cut your hair or I will beat you"). I knew I couldn't confront him phisically and I had no chance to run away. What scared me most is that I became a sort of hostage and I had to take him to my place (!!!) - it happened very close by where I live, after I left the public bus - and after a lot of talk he went away without further phisical damage to me.

It's the first time I have dealt with transphobia in this country, and for some moments I really thought he could have killed me. I am really scared and don't know what to do, since he already knows where I live. I also woiuld like to know how to react in such cases, when calling to police is just impossible at the moment
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