Embracing rainbows: volunteer, be of value and feel vindicated forever

Copenhagen 2021 promises to be one of the most significant LGBTI+ events in history, and this is your chance to get truly involved 

That feeling you get when you’re in the close company of history-makers – it will stay with you forever.

It could be sport. Imagine actually being on the playing surface, enjoying a unique view not available to any spectator. So close to the competitors, you can see the pores in their skin. 

Or music … watching a concert sideways from your backstage vantage point, like whatsername in ‘A Star is Born’. Try not to go ga-ga, this is really happening. 

Or even politics: an impromptu one-off event to mark historic peace talks. You bump into Yasser Arafat and moments later he’s on the podium clasping the hand of Bill Clinton and then Yitzhak Rabin.

How do many ordinary people end up dining out on these memories for the rest of their lives? Simple: they volunteer! 

From ball-girls at Wimbledon to the 30,000-strong orange jacket brigade at Roskilde, it’s the graft dreams are made of.

Being of value
Granted, most of us volunteer for the most noble of reasons: to benefit those less fortunate than ourselves, to fight for something we believe in, to bravely put our body on the line in the interest of science, to give something back, or to integrate into a society.

But it’s also okay to do it for the perks, experience and the friendships that follow. 

From volunteering at a kibbutz in Israel to heading out with the Raleigh Expedition to a country in the Developing World, some of the richest experiences in life are available to those who choose to give their services for free.

Seriously, how can you put a price on meeting your soul-mate or discovering a life-long passion or profession – a common occurrence when people leave their comfort zones to volunteer abroad.

And don’t forget the overall satisfaction that comes from being of value. 

Be a part of history
Well, history is beckoning for everyone in Denmark this August, and there’s nothing stopping you from volunteering and taking part.

The confirmation came through earlier this month that the huge LGBTI+ event Copenhagen 2021, which combines WorldPride with EuroGames, will be going ahead from August 12-22 in the Danish capital and the nearby Swedish city of Malmö. It promises to be the biggest LGBTI+ event ever hosted by Denmark

Disappointed by an “over-cautious approach” – which stipulates that large events from August 1 onwards can only welcome 5,000 visitors, providing they are self-contained in units of up to 500 people, with room to increase the total to 10,000 in certain cases – the organisers will “work within the regulations and be going ahead”.

To realise those plans, they need the help of thousands of volunteers to ensure everything runs smoothly and safely.

Create movements!
Marina Jensen, the volunteer co-ordinator at Copenhagen 2021, is in no doubt that volunteering as an ‘includer’ is a “unique chance” to be a part of history. 

“The work we do right now for the LGBTI+ community worldwide will create movements all over the world, and we can reach people through sports, art, debates, music, demonstrations and so much more. Also the Human Rights Forum is extra ambitious and available for the whole world, offering a very unique chance to join the team and the fight for equality worldwide,” she told CPH POST:

“On a personal level you should join because you can meet the community, go to our social events and parties, and also get access to an exclusive education program where we teach all about inclusive behaviour anno 2021.”

As Jensen stresses, includers do not need to be LGBTI+ to qualify. “We really mean it when we say you are included! All people, genders, identities, sexualities … you are included!” she said.

Too many perks to list
Includers are invited to all of the community’s social activities and events, while the education program will cover all sorts of interesting subjects, from ‘Project Management and Activism’ to ‘Intersectionality 101’ and ‘Trans allyship’. 

Other perks include Copenhagen 2021 merchandise, food and drinks while working, and a special designed Pantone drinking bottle from Copenhagen Design. 

So you’re sold and wondering what the next step is. Well, short-term volunteers will be able to access the official shiftplan from June 14, where you will be able to choose all the roles and shifts that suit you on the Copenhagen 2021 program.

For long-term volunteers who are interested in helping to plan the event, check out each role description in the ‘Long-term Roles’ section at copenhagen2021.com.

For the long-term roles, three different Project Management courses will be provided, while a basic course is accessible for all volunteers, which covers inclusive behaviour, the practicalities involved, and access to lots of different workshops.

State’s surprising stance
The organisers were surprised that the government’s guidelines appear to contravene the advice of its own expert group who advised last month that most restrictions could be lifted once all the over-50s are vaccinated, which is currently on schedule to take place by July 11.

As planned, the attendees at Copenhagen 2021 are likely to need a corona pass, and all “events can be scaled up in size if the vaccine roll-out and general pandemic situation improves,” noted the organisers.

Copenhagen 2021 chair Katja Moesgaard welcomed the clarity of the decision, but was critical that “such a cautious and conservative decision has been made” given that “Copenhagen 2021 is the biggest and most significant LGBTI+ event ever to be held in Scandinavia.”

“With the clarity we now have, our focus is on the three months ahead. In the coming weeks we will publish more detail on how we will accommodate these regulations,” she continued. 

“In the meantime we urge political leaders and the government to reconsider the regulations on a weekly basis to explore every option to safely increase the number of participants to allow more people to join us to campaign and celebrate equality. This is a unique event that will not be repeated in our lifetime and it is a vital opportunity for Denmark to shine as a global beacon of equality.”

Huge line-up
Copenhagen 2021 already has plans for a major digital presentation of events, which will ensure events are livestreamed online for a global audience.

Live action events in Copenhagen include nightly concerts; human rights events at Øksnehallen, Christiansborg and UN City; 29 sports tournaments; and a large number of culture events at venues such as Gammel Strand, Huset KBH and Rådhushaven.

The theme for Copenhagen 2021 is ‘You Are Included’, and to make sure everyone feels included the volunteers are being called ‘Includers’. There are long-term roles in the months leading up to the event, and lots of roles during the event itself. There’s a role to match everyone’s skills and experience.

One thing is for sure: everything will depend on the volunteers. They are the lifeblood of the event. Visit copenhagen2021.com/volunteer or email volunteer@copenhagen2021.com to find out more.

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