RFSL’s President Frida Sandegård on 2016


RFSL works for a society marked by diversity and respect for people's differences, where everybody, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, should have the same rights and obligations and possibilities to live and work. In short, we are here to make the world better for LGBTQ people.

From my first year as president I remember all the meetings with young LGBTQ people who see a bright future as a given. And the elder who proudly see that their struggle and tireless work has led to that we can live more openly and safer today. RFSL has taken big steps towards a world of diversity and respect since we were founded 66 years ago. But we still have important work ahead of us. Our strategic focus is now on asylum rights, international cooperation, health issues and family politics.

Safe ways in

The protection of LGBTQ refugees that have come to Sweden must be strengthened and secured. The temporary asylum laws that the government instated in 2016 especially affects LGBTQ people. RFSL wants to see the ways into the EU to be more protected by law.

In the forefront of international movement

Internationally, RFSL is a strong actor with direct cooperations with partner organisations in many countries. We work for increased knowledge about LGBTQ people’s living conditions and how they connect to the development cooperation of embassies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, human rights organisations and other actors.

Health is a right

LGBTQ people should have the right to the same health status as the population in general. Today that is not the case. As a result LGBTQ people are subject to increased vulnerability and a risk of increased vulnerability in the form of threats, persecution, discrimination and violence, as well there’s an increased risk of substance abuse, mental ill-health, mortality and suicide. The work with health improvement is closely linked to rights issues, and our work ranges from trans people’s rights to senior LGBTQ people, people who live with HIV and research about LGBTQ people’s alcohol consumption habits, to name a few examples.

All different families

Families look different and RFSL works for integrating an LGBTQ perspective in Swedish family politics. The parent code needs a thorough review, but before that RFSL wants a gender-neutral parental presumption to become a reality. This means that the non-pregnant person in an LGBTQ couple becomes the child’s legal parent, regardless of gender.

Guard our gained rights

The support for LGBTQ political issues and LGBTQ people’s human rights is strong. We see it in manifestations around the world, we see it in politician’s intentions, in the media and not least in civil society. At the same time those rights cannot be taken for granted. We risk quickly taking many steps back if the conservative voices that are gaining ground stick around.

For the generation that comes after us are to be able to live without fear, persecution or violence we cannot take our rights for granted. We will always keep trying to find the ways to secure human rights for all LGBTQ people.

Frida Sandegård, President of RFSL

Download the full report below.

RFSL Yearly Report 2016 (pdf, 3,1 mb, will open in a new window)