Norwegian Scouts Advocate for Diversity and Inclusion through this year’s Digital Pride parade
Every year, Norwegian Scouts and Guides sew rainbow badges on their uniforms, put on rainbow scarves and participate in LGBTQ+ Pride parades across the country. Pride has been named “the year’s most important Scout trip” and connects Scouts of all ages and both associations. This year however, the Pride event looks very different. Due to COVID-19 regulations, the colourful parade has been moved online, in a day-long livestream. Instead of bringing rainbow-coloured Scout flags to the event, the Scouts now participate through online video submissions, forums and comment sections.
Key to managing the project is Heidi A. Madsen, and the rest of the volunteers in the Network for Diversity and Inclusion of the Norwegian Scout and Guide Association. She proudly describes how engagement for diversity and inclusion is strong within the association, coming from the grassroots and young Scouts, as evident by the video they have created for the parade.
In the video, the Scouts talk about how Pride is all about community and that in Scouting “we don’t judge each other,” and that respect is key to diversity and inclusion. They believe that Scouting celebrates the uniqueness of everyone.
For Heidi, Scouts participating in Pride is a powerful act. She describes how Pride, and especially the Norwegian rainbow scarf, has become an important symbol of the freedom to “be yourself” in Scouting. She explains that she found a safe space in Scouting, and how much she hopes that more young people will find safe and welcoming spaces in Scouting, like she did.
In order to achieve this, Heidi argues that all Scouts need to take action. She explains that “young people need the safe space which Scouting can provide, but then we also need to show that everyone is welcome - not just with words, but with actions”. In her opinion, this digital Pride parade does just that.
National board member Ane Nørstebø Laache agrees and is so proud to see all the engagement.
“For our own Scouts and Guides they can feel the engagement and hopefully feel that we are working towards becoming a more inclusive association. It is also important to show that we as an association, think this is an important cause to support and show that we want our society to change towards acceptance to all,” she explains.
Lastly, Ane reflects on the importance of Scouting representing the tolerant, diverse and inclusive society we try to create, also outside of campsites.
“I have heard many stories that people watching us in the Pride parade have had tears in their eyes from our participation,” she adds. Heidi agrees, saying “We have the power to reach so many people, and thus do so much good.”
This article has been written by Freja Dohrn Ellefsen- a volunteer from the Norwegian Guide and Scout Association.
Photo Credit: Tove Arntzen