THL is not and must not become simply a distant observer that does not take a stand of its own. THL should not only offer options. We must do better. Participating in the Pride week and raising of the Rainbow flag is an indication of this.

This morning, as I was going through my Twitter feed, I happened to notice a message from ASPHER, the association for Public Health Schools, which read approximately “all of us public health professionals have a responsibility to take a proactive role and express the views of a society we want”.  I do believe that each of us at THL carry a little activist seed deep within. It does not mean losing impartiality, but rather being able to look at complex issues from many angles and recognizing human dignity in all our thinking.

To me THL is all about this. In addition to working to tackle the biggest challenges in health and well-being, we must equally be able to avoid falling under the dictatorship of the majority. THL must be able through its work to support the health and well-being of all people. This means paying attention to the minority issues and promoting the equal treatment of minorities in all societal matters.

Finland is a good place to live, one of the best. There is still room for improvement, though. A major issue is the reform of the Trans Act and the continued support to equal treatment of Rainbow families. It is simply not acceptable to legislate about a person’s right to his or her own body functions. The requirement of sterilization must be removed from the present Trans Act. This is not about politics. It is about values. THL must be able to work for promoting human rights against phobias and the fear of someone being different today and in the future.

For me the raising of the Rainbow flag is an indication that THL works for the wellbeing of all people. Equally, for the health and social work professionals and the public; for children, adults and the elderly; for those who are employed and those without work. Equally, for those whose first language is Finnish, Swedish, Sami or Romany or any other; for those born in Finland and for those born elsewhere; for heterosexuals, gay, lesbian and trans persons. For different religious groups, the rich and the poor, the sick and the healthy, the obese and the thin, the sober, the drunken and the addicted. The majority and the minorities.

These are, to me, the basis of THL’s values and I’m happy and proud of my workplace.

See you at the Pride parade!

Mika Salminen
Director, Health Security Department


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