Transnational Connections

Finland’s and Sweden’s Mutually Constructed Homosexuality

  • Tuula Juvonen
Keywords: queer history, cultural exchange, Finland, Sweden


In reference to recent interest in transnational queer studies, this essay takes steps to document the long-standing tradition of cultural connection and exchange with regard to homosexual images that has taken place across the Gulf of Bothnia and influenced the understanding of homosexuality, lesbianism included, in both Finland and Sweden. It argues that the cross-border exchange has not only nourished lesbian and gay culture and cultural production in both countries, but also influenced the way in which homosexuality – and thereby the countries themselves – have been viewed. In the article, Finnish cultural products, such as detective novels, films, scandal and porn magazines are searched for traces of the enduring idea of Swedishness being intrinsically intertwined with homosexuality. Whereas the image of Sweden was rather tainted by homosexuality in the 1950s, the public perception of Sweden in Finland changed markedly in the 1960s. In addition to ideas changing, people also started to travel between the two neighbouring countries, ensuring that the cultural exchange was by no means a one-way street.


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How to Cite
Juvonen, T. (2024). Transnational Connections: Finland’s and Sweden’s Mutually Constructed Homosexuality. Lambda Nordica, 29(1), 91-107.