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Swedish Armed Forces and Government Offices

A workplace without openly straight employees?

7/31/2009 | Pride Park

No one open about their orientation

Text: Linus T, Photo: Bosse E

The Government Offices and the Armed Forces are both represented at Pride Park, both commonly perceived as quite straight workplaces with few LGBT employees. The question is, how straight are they, really? Stockholm Pride's reporter has met representatives for both institutions.

Of the two, the Swedish Armed Forces is the least straight workplace.

- The Armed Forces as a workplace is not that straight anymore, even though the organization might not be that streamlined, says Hans Nilsson, public relations officer at the Armed Forces.

He thinks that the prejucides about the Armed Forces as a straight dominated workplace are deeply rooted. But the Armed Forces has, as a matter of fact, improved the situation for LGBT employees at the workplace. There is an independent network for LGBT people at the Armed Forces. The network strives to improve the situation for LGBT persons within the Armed Forces through peer support, lobbying and making LGBT issues visible. That is why I dare to say that the Armed Forces is not that straight a workplace.

The Government Offices, however, is a very straight dominated workplace.

- There has been a proportional increase in the number of homosexuals and bisexuals, but not of transsexuals, says Andrés Zanzi who works at the Government Offices. 

Both he and Marcus Jönsson, also government official, tells that there are a number of LGBT persons at all ministries who are open about their sexual orientation. Both officials add that they are straight.

- My colleagues were surprised when I told them at our coffee break that I was going to Stockholm Pride this year, Marcus says.

The officials in the tent represent the Government Offices on duty. The Government Offices has strived to educate the officials, for example in thinking beyond the heteronorm. The Government representation at Stockholm Pride is a political decision. Despite the Government Offices being a very straight dominated workplace, things are looking better for the future, the workplace is on its way to become a neutral workplace, normwise.

There are LGBT persons at both the Armed Forces and the Governmnet Offices. But how many are openly straight? Neither Hans Nilsson nor Andrés Zanzi and Marcus Jönsson know anyone how has come out as straight. Maybe the green, macho Armed Forces and the grey, boring Government Offices are more rainbow coloured than one might expect?

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