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Defence Forces ok with uniform use in Pride parade

Following initial objections, the Finnish Defence Forces now say that appearing in service uniform in a Pride parade is a matter of personal choice.

Ylikersantti Juho Pylvänäinen marssi virkaunivormussaan Helsinki-Pridessa 2. heinäkuuta.
Staff Sergeant Juho Pylvänäinen wore his dress uniform when marching in the Helsinki Pride parade on the 2nd of July. Image: Kira Hagström

The appearance by Staff Sergeant Juho Pylvänäinen in uniform during this year's Helsinki Pride parade aroused a storm of comments in social media, both for and against his decision to do so.

On Tuesday of this week, Defence Forces' communications officer Henrik Gahmberg laid out the initial stand on this issue in an email to Yle. In it he stated that it was not deemed appropriate or desirable that individual soldiers appear in service uniform during their free time at such events since their appearance and behaviour reflects upon the image of the armed forces.

On Wednesday, Defence Forces' communications director Jan Engström revised that position in a statement first given to the newspaper Iltalehti. According to Engström, the original statement was overly strict and that participation in a Pride parade in uniform is a matter of personal choice.

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