Forbundet af 1948
The Danish organisation Forbundet af 1948 ("The Association of 1948") was established in Ålborg, June 23 1948. In their book Homofile kampår founder Axil Axgil (nee Axel Lundahl Madsen) and his collaborator Helmer Fogedgaard write about the early days of both Forbundet af 1948 and of the journal Vennen ("The Friend").
Human rights and tolerance
In 1948, Axel Lundahl Madsen lived in Ålborg in Denmark. He was involved in several organisations and unions, for a multitude of causes, and was frequently asked if he could not also speak for the 'case of the homosexuals'. He cites one person saying that 'the united nations have just made a declaration on human rights, but you are too scared to speak about the fact that there is another group that also deserves these rights – the right to acknowledge our own feelings'. Together with a group of friends and acquaintances, he decided to establish an organisation that was to work for 'equality in those areas in which we so clearly were being discriminated. We had to demand, if not understanding, then at least tolerance from the heterosexuals' (Axgil & Fogedgaard 1985:134).
Vennen and international contacts
Around this time, Lundahl Madsen had come into contact with Helmer Fogedgaard, who was working to establish the journal Vennen, and the two men worked closely together. Fogedgaard had a wide international network of homosexual contacts, and through this they were able to learn about, and contact, Der Kreis/Le Cercle in Switzerland, as well as the newly established Dutch organisation Cultuur en Ontspannings Centrum (C.O.C). They chose the name Kredsen av 1948 for their Danish organisation (Axgil & Fogedgaard 1985:137).
Right from the start the bonds between Vennen and Kredsen af 1948 were close. Vennen was considered a newsletter/members’ journal for the new organisation, and the establishment of Kredsen af 1948 was announced in Vennens first issue, which came out in January 1949. Under the pseudonym Homophilos, Fogedgaard wrote about the new organisation, and Lundahl Madsen contributed an article about the group’s program (Axgil & Fogedgaard 1985:140).
In Vennen nr 2, 1949, a round symbol with a handshake under a four leaf clover was introduced as Kredsen af 1948’s official emblem. This symbol was also used in the first pamphlet sent out by the Norwegian branch of the organisation in 1951. Information about Vennen and Kredsen af 1948 was distributed to more than 2000 persons. The small brochure containing the rules and conventions for the Kredsen af 1948 states that it was to be an organisation for 'primarily homo- and bisexual persons' (Axgil & Fogedgaard 1985:138-139).
After the launch of Kredsen af 1948 in the first edition of Vennen, a complaint was received from a religious order of nuns with the name Kredsen af St. Dag 1887, which also had Kredsen as their registered short-form name. The newly established LGBT-organisation wished to avoid going to court, and changed their name to Forbundet af 1948, which it was then called from 1949 onward (Axgil & Fogedgaard 1985:142). The first official gathering for Forbundet av 1948 was Easter Sunday, April 17th 1949. The meeting was held at 'Esplanadepavillonen' in Copenhagen, and according to Axgil and Fogedgaard more than 200 people were gathered, including guests from Norway and Sweden (Axgil & Fogedgaard 1985:60).
Danish LGBT activism
In 1985, Forbundet av 1948 changed their name to Landsforeningen for Bøsser og Lesbiske, Forbundet af 1948 (The National Organisation for Gays and Lesbians, Forbundet af 1948), abbreviated to LBL. Since 2009 the organisation has been called LGBT Danmark - Landsforeningen for bøsser, lesbiske, biseksuelle og transpersoner (The National Organisation for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans persons).
Axgil, Axel og Helmer Fogedgaard. 1985. Homofile kampår. Bøsseliv gennem tiderne. Rudkøbing: Forlaget Grafolio.