Earlier this week Jenis av Rana, a member of Parliament and leader of the fundamentalist Christian political party, Midflokkurinn, in the Faroe Islands, demanded that the Pride festivals, which are to be held two days before Ólafsvaka (the islands’ national holiday at the end of July) be banned. Now Faroese singer and songwriter Eivør Pálsdóttir has stepped forward, calling Jenis a narrow-minded man who should be ignored.
“Narrow minded opinions like these should be ignored, I feel,” says singer Eivør Pálsdóttir about politician Jenis av Rana who doesn’t want the Faroese Pride festivals to be held two days before Ólafsvaka. Adding: “This man just can not be taken seriously.”
When asked about Jenis’s stance against homosexuality, Eivør tells us that it is her clear impression, that Jenis represents an ever decreasing minority in the Faroes.
“His political party has ten times fewer voters than the number of people showing up for the gay pride every year.”
Jenis of course made headlines back in 2010 when he refused to attend a state banquet held in honour of Icelandic prime minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir’s official visit, saying it was against his religion and that he wouldn’t “dream of attending such a banquet”.
At the time Jenis, who is also a general practitioner and a preacher, was referring to the fact that Jóhanna is openly gay and was accompanied to the Faroe Islands by her wife, writer and journalist Jónina Leóssdóttir. Jenis said he considered the couple’s visit to be a direct provocation to the beliefs of Faroese society.
“This man just can not be taken seriously.”
Jenis’s remarks sparked controversy, in both Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Iceland’s foreign minister at the time Össur Skarphéðinsson, publicly condemned them as “disgraceful”. Kaj Leo Johannesen, the Faroese prime minister, condemned the anti-gay outbursts, saying Mr av Rana should be “ashamed of himself”. Chairman of the Faroese Republican party, Hogny Hoydal, also publicly stated that Jenis’s views did not represent those of the whole Faroese nation.
Jenis has since gone on, compairing gay people to fish on dry land and saying that homosexuality is a problem that can be cured.
But if his views only represent a decreasing minority in the Faroes, why all the media coverage?
“It is typical that people like him get a lot of attention in the press,” Eivør points put. “Lots of noise and very little substance.”
And when it comes to her own views on LGBTQI rights, Eivør isn’t shy to express them: “LOVE AND EQUALITY IS FOR EVERYONE!”
Main photo: Eivør Pálsdóttir, on the left, photographed by Heiðríkur á Heygum.
Jenis av Rana, on the right, photo by Johannes Jansson/norden.org.