Community and togetherness have become buzzwords in recent years, and many hobbies that have been seen as outdated, such as handicrafts, have made a comeback. Helsinki does a good job in arranging and providing spaces for child-friendly activities for rainbow families, a niche that has sometimes been forgotten in the LGBTQ+ community.
Sexuality does obviously not dictate what kinds of hobbies one picks up, or what kind of club or team one wishes to belong to. Still, many find it very enriching to enjoy opportunities to participate in free-time activities together with other members of the LGBTQ+ community.
We have selected some free-time hobby tips for the LGBTQ+ community here in Helsinki. For more alternatives, we advise to visit the Helsinki Pride website, for instance.
Choir and theatre
For those with an interest for performing, theatre and choir singing can be amazing ways to express oneself, and to be part of a bigger community. There are some LGBTQ+ options in Helsinki.
Out 'n loud was formed in 2004 as a bilingual gay choir. It is (presumably) the first and only choir in Finland consisting of only men. The choir's programme mixes romantic and humorous moods. The choir is known for its "gay schlager" tendencies, along with urban contemporary music and the choir's own works. You can get acquainted with the choir at outnloud.fi – where you can also find instructions on how to participate.
Finland's only lesbian choir was established in 2014. Kaupungin Naiset (The Townswomen) perform "songs of life, love and their endings". All the songs performed by the choir are new compositions with texts by contemporary Finnish poets. The choir's repertoire already includes over 20 songs of their own material. If you are curious to join the Townswomen either as a supporting member or singer, get in touch with the choir via e-mail. The choir accepts new members about once a year. Please visit the choir's website for the concert calendar and more info.
If you have an interest in theatre – as a spectator or amateur actor – check out the Helsinki Gay Theatre (e.g. on Facebook). The group was founded in 2007 with the leading thought to "support the theatre field of sexual minorities, and enhance equality in society through theatre". So far, HGT has produced more than 20 shows, with an average of two or three premieres every year. The group has an emphasis of taking up the work of gay artists. The Helsinki Gay Theatre does not have a venue of its own, and the performance and working venues are specified project per project.
The sports association HOT focuses on sports and exercise activities for sexual and gender minorities. Founded in 1997, the association aims to support LGBTQ+ athletes in their training both emotionally and financially. HOT organises training opportunities and facilities where athletes can train and be who they are openly. The most popular sports hosted by the association are aerobics, volleyball, floorball and badminton. You can get acquainted with the association's activities on e.g. Facebook. HOT wishes new members warmly welcome to get to know one another and participate in trainings.
Activities for rainbow families
A noteworthy organisation directing family-friendly activities for the LGBTQ+ community is Sateenkaariperheet (Rainbow Families). The association has an events calendar with all kinds of play and art activities, as well as a weekly "family café" hosted at the association's spaces in the Sörnäinen district.
The programme directed at rainbow families is exceptionally diverse. Traditionally, the calendar is dotted with all kinds of activities from circus classes to family camps and theatre excursions. There are also many chances for parents to take part in adult-only activities. For more information and possible Covid-19 restrictions on activities, please visit the community's website (mostly in Finnish).
Queer-friendly, feminist stand up comedy
Are you interested in stand up comedy? For those looking for humour with a queer-friendly vibe, we recommend following the feminist stand up collective Ilonpilaajat, its motto is "rather proper party-pooping than a cheap laugh". The focus is on feminist humour but the group is also very LGBTQ+-friendly. Anyone can join, the stage is open also for beginners! For more information, please visit the group's page on Facebook.
The queerfeminist embroidery club Radikaalit ristipistot (Radical cross-stitch) is a grassroots level DIY hybrid of handicrafts and activism. The freeform meetings help people make handicrafts that take a stand. Participants discuss current topics and political issues , and also give and receive peer support. The group normally meets at the Museum of Impossible Forms at the Kontula shopping centre. Get familiar with the group on Facebook.
The Helsinki Pride community's Kirjoneulojat group also welcomes the capital region's stitchers, lace-enthusiasts and knitters. All adults who identify as LGBTQ+ are welcome to join, regardless of background or skills. The volunteer instructors will give technical tips, and there is a general mood of friendly peer support.
NB: The book club events are mostly in Finnish, but we invite you to follow the social media presence of the mentioned meet-ups for possible English-language activities.
Mummolaakso (Granny Valley) hosts an irregular but fairly frequent literary evening for anyone who identifies as a lesbian or a bisexual woman. The book club meets every few months to discuss predetermined books. While catering to middle-aged and older women, the events are open to lesbian and queer women of all ages. The circle meets at the Feminist Association Unioni on Bulevardi. For more information, please visit Mummolaakso's website.
Kallio Library hosts a queer book club. The book club dives into rainbow literature according to the wishes of the participants. For more information, check out the Facebook community Sateenkaarihylly.
For those interested in feminist topics, the Kallio Library also hosts a feminist reading circle addressing classics and new works of feminist literature. There is a pre-registration for the events through the library's Facebook page.