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A very charming,
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THE PIONEERS OF GAY MARRIAGE
click below photo
THE FIRST legal married gay couple was Axel & Eigil Axgil, who married together with 10 other couples in Copenhagen the 1st October 1989. It was a worldwide media event. But at this time Axgils had been together for nearly 40 years, 32 of which under a common name.
Axel and Eigil had in 1957 combined their first names into the family-name Axgil when they were in prison for gay right activism. So many gay couples also changed their names that the government soon stopped this early precursor to civil union. In 1989 the Partnership Law again made such name changes possible.
THE 1ST MAN OUT...AND THE 1ST COUPLE
|When Axel started his gay society, he was promptly fired from an auto-firm, thrown out of his living quarters and expelled from his party. Old friends avoided him and soon he fled to Copenhagen, where he met Eigil. To demonstrate their union Axgils clad like twins. Just as Axel was the first man out the Axgils were the 1st couple out, decades before others followed. As they bought identical suits to mark their union in 1950 there was an uproar in their society as this was unheard of, but at the wedding it was the dress code.|
THE FIRST GAY SOCIETIES
The 23rd of June 1948 the first Danish gay society F-48 was founded by Axel Axgil. Soon after a Norwegian and Swedish section under F-48 followed. F-48 was very successful and had 1.339 members in 1951 and when Axgil stepped down as chairman in 1952 it had reached the world record of 2600.
The Nordic sections developed into the national societies DNF-48 in Norway and RFSL in Sweden in 1950. The 23rd of June 1998 F48/LBL marked its 50th year jubilee as the oldest still existing gay society.
Axgil also made a new society IHWO "International Homosexual World Organization" (1954-1970) which held huge congresses with upto 150 international participants and changed several laws
|F-48 = Forbundet af 1948, from 1982 Landforeningen af Boesser og Lesbiske/Forbundet af 1948 has now 1300 members.|
|DNF-48 = Det Norske Forbund af 1948, now LLH. Official start May 1950. The first decade in Norway and Sweden only 1-200 members.|
|RFSL = Riksforbundet for seksuel Ligeberettigelse Official start of national society Oct. 1950. Axgils were present on both occasions.|
|The IHWO had a German Section. In 1952 "COC" and "Der Kreis" had 1-2000 members. Axel Axgil is honorary member of RFSL.|
GAY MEDIA PIONEERS
|The society´s magazine "VENNEN" followed ½ a year after the founding of the gay society F-48, with sharp-witted Helmer Fogedgaard (1907-2002) as editor. His effort was indispensable and his support of Axgils`and F-48 was often crucial. His noble magazine was without pictures and a year later a photo service inspired by the Swiss "Der Kreis" was introduced to fill the void. The first nude photo sold thousands of copies and a small gay media empire employing a dozen started with Eigil Axgil as the main photographer. The photoseries sold as art pictures all over the world,. Later the pictures were published in the "Male Models".|
click photos for full size
THE WITCH HUNT
As the police wanted to stop the VENNEN attacks on policemethods against gays, Axgils were arrested and put in prison for more than 1 year after a horrific McCarthy´ite witchhunt in 1955 where 1000 gays were arrested. The police tried in vain to confiscate VENNEN. The trial was a show-trial as the judge recommended rat poison for gay sex offenders anyway. As they had not made porn they were convicted using an obscure lesser law-paragraph against "speculation in lust". The hysteria gave rise to the anti- gay "Ugly Law" 1961-1965.
The police forgot to confiscate the vital negatives and the photo service quickly started up again. At their release the DA told them to stay apart. They then told him that they formally had gotten a common name Axgil upon which he promised them a lifelong persecution. It lasted until 1968 when the last pornography raid in Denmark was launched against Axgils: the local police mutineered and would not load their vans and the top brass had to crawl home in a VW Beetle aching under a ton of porn. As the ban of pornography was lifted in 1969 their soft erotica trailed off as they would not invest in color printing of pornography and they embarked on a new pioneering adventure.
CLICK FOR FULL-SIZE
"AXELHUS" - A DANISH FAIRY TALE
|"Axelhus" a 800 m2 former school was made into a 20 room gay paradise with "restrooms" and swimmingpool. While the ´68-generation tried to change the world, Axgils actually succeeded in making their own fairy kingdom. This gay paradise with a 5000 m2 garden was fitted out with a big swimmingpool. The mostly nude guests of this gay UN were truly international, at one point originating from 16 nations. Axgil still receives letters of thanks from his guests. Weekends were open for liberated married couples. Axgils only complaint was lack of sleep. In 1980 they had to close as the finance minister denied them exemption from a ruinous inheritance tax if one of them died as they were not married. 9 years later the law was changed by their old gay society F48/LBL.|
THE SAME- SEX MARRIAGE LAW
Click for screen size
Marriage ideas were unfashionable when F-48 was in competition with revolutionary BBF (1971) and LB (1974). These movements expired and F-48 was renamed LBL/F-48 in 1982. Axel became a honorary member in 1975. A lobbying campaign for partnership could not prevent a rejection of the first law proposal in 1984. Axgils had declined to join the commission examining the possibilities of a same- sex marriage as they had no legal background. The commission came to a negative conclusion , but in 1988 an opinion poll showed that the Danish People were firmly behind a new same-sex marriage law-proposal ( 57% for and 25% against ), and the parliaments members were given a free vote by their parties. The Danish Folketing adopted the Partnership Law the 26th of May 1989 and the Justice Ministry surprisingly decided that the partnership demanded the ritual of ordinary civil unions.
As Axgil´s for 40 years were the living definition of gay partnership, the F-48/LBL society chose their founder and honorary member as the first to marry day the law came into force, 1st of October 1989. Axgils´recordlong partnership had turned into a defiant demonstration when they as gay activists behind prison walls got the idea of a public gay union using a common family name. In 1989 the walls fell for all lovers to marry regardless of sex and the world will never be the same. The countries where Axgils also had laid the foundation, Norway and Sweden followed as the first in 1993 and 1995.
As Axgil´s didn´t want to marry as the only couple the 1st Partnership day as LBL/F-48 had planned, further 10 couples tied the knot. 1st couple: Eigil (67) & Axel Axgil (74). 2nd couple: Lutheran Minister Ivan Larsen & psychologist Ove Carlsen, both 42. 3rd couple: Teacher Jan Lyllof (45) & Student Joek Volkman (27). The first 6 couples were LBL/F-48 activists while the 5 others used the opportunity to marry the 1st day in "The Wedding Chamber".
The vicemayor Tom Ahlberg read almost the same text as to heterosexual couples. The city hall was under siege from the world press. Normally no wedding service can take place on Sundays at the Town Hall but the civil servants went to work anyway to make possible that the gay couples could marry on the first day. Tom Ahlberg together with Axgil´s and LBL/F-48´s secretary Bent Hansen, worked frantically behind the scenes to make the wedding possible on the 1st of October 1989. The Axgil`s forced the government not to delay the wedding a week because of too late printing of documents. They threatened to marry immediately in the period of the lawless limbo between the old and new law, and go to the press exposing the embarrassing fact, that if one of them died in the week, the survivor was to loose everything. The civilretsdirektoratet then agreed to use photocopies.
DANES MAKE HISTORY: GAYS LEGALLY MARRY
|"If everyone comes out of the closet, then this will happen everywhere."|
|--67-year-old Eigil Axgil. - Color photo by Rex Wockner.|
by Rex Wockner
IN what has been hailed as
a fundamental turning point in
pictures by Anja Tollan (click pictures for full size)
|Asked if he had any words of encouragement for gay and
lesbian couples in other countries who might someday hope to be
married, Eigil Axgil said: "Be open. Come out. Keep fighting.
This is the only way to move anything. If everyone comes out of
the closet then this will happen everywhere."
IT ALL HAPPENED SO FAST
|The weddings themselves were surprisingly brief. Copenhagen Vice-Mayor Tom Ahlberg addressed the group for two minutes, reminding the grooms of their duties of "joint love, helpfulness and tolerance" (Full text here). Each couple then individually entered a small adjacent room to answer the single question, "Will you take ... as a partner?"|
After all vows had been exchanged, the couples descended the Town Hall steps into a hundreds-strong throng of well-wishers
click below picture
Axel & Eigil were registered partners almost 6 years of their 45 years together. In the 1st half year of partnership they were full-time in the grips of world media. In their last years together they travelled the world several times; they visited USA, Hawaii, China, South East Asia, Mexico, Africa, etc. Their partnership was a model as they were as much in love the last day as the first. They never argued. A church wedding was not missed as they were both atheists and their relationship was always open for both. Eigil Axgil died of a stroke the 22 September 1995. After the "Axelhus" years he took the stressful job as a bus-driver at the age of 58 and soon developed a heart condition which led to his premature death. Axel Axgil is now 85 years old and writes his autobiography. (He has not written the text of this site). The 23rd of June 1998 was the 50th anniversary of the F-48/LBL-society. Axel´s letters and archive goes to Rigsarkivet. IHWO is maintaining this site and is responsible for the text using following sources: Axel Axgil and his archive, Rex Wockner´s report, Raimund Wolfert´s article in German, Schwules Museum, QRD & FQRD, Anja Tollan´s b/w wedding pictures and many others.
Books: Axel Axgil and Helmer Fogedgaard: "Homofile Kampår" , (1985) 216 sider, in Danish.
Articles: *Raimund Wolfert M.A. : Der Wegbereiter article (click here) in German in NORDEUROPA FORUM Nr.5 1996, Humbolt Universität zu Berlin about Axel Axgil. *Wilhelm von Rosen about Axel Axgil in "Who´s Who in Gay and Lesbian History". *Eigil & Axel Axgil: "Homosexuelle Milepaele", (1989) Lambda Nordica, 3-4. RFSL. Scandinavia University Press.* Newsweek 16th Oct. 1989. *Tiderne Skifter/National Museet-katalog, 1998: "Axel´s Eigil/Eigil´s Axel", by contemporary museum-leader Bjarne Kildegaard. *Männeraktuell Interview April Ausgabe 1999. Illustreret Tidende 1980-89, October 1999. "Ud & Se" December 1999 side 31 "Bøssebryllup". *Ugebladet "Søndag" 4.3.2002 "fra skabet til ægteskabet". *Samt "Danmarksting 1945-2000" side 144-145, Gyldendal, 2000. *Blikk, Norge nr. 6b Juni 2000. *Axel Axgil: "Strejftog gennem 40 aars begivenheder" *Eigil Axgil: 12 page biography of Axel Axgil.* Axgil Axgil: "Intensioner & Resultater" http://www.lbl.dk/lbl-aarhus/nyheder/axgil.html : LBL-Århus: Axel Axgils bål-tale 23.6.1998. 1999: 14th of June: TIME Magazine: Heroes of 20th century: Harvey Milk: Picture of Axel & Eigil´s wedding in 1989.
Exhibitions: *In the summer of 1997 Akademie der Kunste in Berlin exhibited many items from Axel Axgil in their show "100 years of gay movement". *The National Museum, Denmark displayed the wedding suits and other items of Eigil & Axel Axgil at a big exhibition "Dream of the 20th Century"- a culturalhistorical exhibition about dream and reality through the latest 100 years - from 11th July to 1st November 1998. *21.4.1999- 8. August 1999: Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden, Ausstellung: "Der Neue Mensch".
TV Documentaries: "I medgang og modgang" Axel Axgil & Helmer Fogedgaard, Metronome 1991 for TV 2 v. Frank Howitz, 40 minutes. BBC : "Matter of the Heart" 50 minutes 1989. Also NDR, RIAS, SV2, N2, TV5 Swiss, RAI, NRK 1989. In 1998: DR 2 : "Aarhundredets Vidner- Afvigerne" Axel Axgil & Helmer Fogedgaard, 40 minutes 1.11.98, repeated July 1999 + After Deadline , TV2 Go Aften (10 minutes interviews). 26.5.1999: TV3- interview. TV2 Go´ Morgen interview 1.10.1999.
|Helmer Fogedgaard - Axgils & Rolf Loevaas - Allan Hellmann - "Rolf" Karl Meier, - "Bob Angelo" - Eigil Axgil 1922-+95|
|PIONEERS OF EUROPEAN GAY SOCIETIES 1st PARTNERSHIP PAGE|
|Helmer Fogedgaard, "Homophilos" (1907-2002) Editor & publisher of "Vennen" 1949-1955, the Danish F-48 magazine|
|Allan Hellman, (1904-1982) 1950-51 F-48 /RFSL "The bravest man in Sweden" was for years the only openly gay.|
|Rolf Loevaas (1923-1996) The 1st chair of Norwegian gay society DNF-48 1950-52, prolific gay activist writer.|
|"Rolf" - Karl Meier, (1897-1974) Swiss "Der Kreis" 1942-67, visited Axgils 1954 & 70. Godfather of gay movements.|
|"Bob Angelo" - Niek Engelshman, (1913-1988) founded Dutch COC (1946-63) met Axgils 1949 & 53, decorated 86.|
|Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) WhK 1897-1933, gay sex researcher as Alfred Kinsey (1894-1956) who wrote Axgil|
|Eric Thorsell (1899-1980) with WhK, RFSL/ F-48. Michael Holm & Guert Staal took over "IHWO" (1954-1970) in 1968.|
|Harry Hay(1912-) The Mattachine Society 1948-1953, a parallel to Axgils´ F-48 1948-52, DNF-48, RFSL & IHWO 1954-70|
|PROGRESS OF PARTNERSHIP LIST|
|DENMARK Population 5.2 mill. Law in effect 1 October 1989, Folketinget adopts Registered Partnership 26 May 1989|
|NORWAY Pop. 4.3 mill. in effect 1 August 1993, Stortinget legalized Registered Partnership 1 April 1993.|
|SWEDEN Pop. 8.7 mill. in effect 1 January 1995, Riksdagen legalized Registered Partnership 7 June 1994.|
|GREENLAND, DK, adopted Danish Partners Act 26 April 1996, - Nordic countries recognized each others acts Aug. 1995.|
|HUNGARY Pop. 10.3 mill. Passed 21 May 1996 by Magyar Orszaggyules: Legal protection of Common Law Marriage|
|ICELAND Pop. 263.000, 27 June 1996, The Icelandic Althingi voted for "Recognized Partnership" 4 June 1996.|
|HAWAII - US State Pop. 1.2 mill, "Reciprocal Beneficiary Relationship" enacted 8th June 1997, later suspended.|
|THE NETHERLANDS Pop. 15.3 mill. In effect 1 January 1998. Passed "Registration of Partnership" Act 9 July 1997.|
|FRANCE Pop. 55 mill. Civil Solidarity-pacts "PaCS" adopted October 13 1999: PaCS in effect November 17 1999.|
|BELGIUM Pop. 10 mill. Partner measure (Statutory Cohabitation Contract) in effect the 4th January 2000|
|VERMONT (US STATE) - Dec. 20, 1999 Vermont Supreme Court: "Civil union"- law in effect from 1st July 2000|
|Portuguese lawmakers Thursday 15th of March 2001 granted legal rights of common law marriages to gays.|
|Germany (Pop. 78 mill.) Bundestag adopted "Eingetragene Partnerschaft" in effect 1st of August 2001.|
|Finland adopted a comprehensive registered-partnership law the 28th of September 2001, in effect March 2002|
|1ST REGISTERED COUPLES LIST|
|DENMARK Eigil (1922-1995) & Axel Axgil (1915-) 1st legally married gay partners, 67 & 74, Copenhagen Town Hall 1-10-1989|
|DENMARK 2nd. Longest lasting same-sex marriage: lutheran Minister Ivan Larsen and psychologist Ove Carlsen both 42|
|DENMARK 3rd couple: Teacher Jan Lyllof , 45, & Student Joek Volkman, 27. Now divorced. No lesbians married 1-10-1989|
|NORWAY A couple from Trondheim came before lesbian Karen-Christine Friele of DNF-48 who " had fought 20 years for this"|
|SWEDEN Hans Jonsson, 42, & Sven-Olov Jansson, 58, married at Ostersund City Hall by former MP Jorn Svensson 5-1-1995|
|ICELAND Two gay couples and a lesbian Anna Sigridur Sigurjonsdottir & Solveig Magnea Jonsdottir, Reykjavik 27-6-1996|
|THE NETHERLANDS 3 anonymous male couples were married 5-1-1998, an Amsterdam pensioner was first, partner now dead|
|THE NETHERLANDS Irma van Praag and Anna Kreuger, first lesbian couple to use the "Registration of Partnership" 14-1-98|
|BELGIUM Activist Alain Bossuyt, who registered with his partner Luc Legrand were among the first 4th of January 2000|
|VERMONT USA: Carolyn Conrad and Kathleen Peterson joined "Civil union" as the first couple in USA 1st July 2000.|
|GERMANY: Heinz Harre and Reinhard Leuschow, who married at the Hanover town hall the 1st of August 2001.|
|. VENNEN - INDEPENDENT FIGHTING ORGAN FOR NORDIC HOMOPHILES|
|Marriage Sites World: D-Jawort Australia New Zealand COC Netherlands GB PTT|
|Marriage Sites USA: Partners - Domestic Partnership - QRD - Partnerships 1. 2. History of gay marriage|
|Partnership Acts: Danish Norwegian Swedish Icelandic Finnish Portuguise French|
|Gay organizations and org.: LBL/F48 LLH RFSL COC SETA HOSI HRC ILGA|
|News: Wockner´s Wire & Archive Planet Out & http://www.wockner-news.com/ OutRage! SBU QX|
|GL Indices: Rainbow Gayscape QRD Norton Gay History Halsall Queers in History Outlist|
THE HUNT FOR NAZI CONCENTRATIONCAMP DOCTOR CARL VAERNET
Origin of Homo: Gay evolution
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