The Faroe Islands are celebrating gay Pride this weekend, and this year is particularly special.

In December discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation was criminalised, after a very close vote in the country’s parliament, the Faroese Løgting.

The islands, a self-governing province of Denmark, are situated halfway between Iceland and Norway. They have a population of 48,000 people.

Today Faroe Pride begins, celebrating that first law recognising LGBT people in the country, promoting diversity and respect for human rights in Faroese society.

It is the second Pride festival on the islands and is organised by ANSO, Association of Nordic LGBT Student Organisations, together with Friðarbogin, the Faroese LGBT organisation.

Friðarbogin was founded in 2003. One of the aims of the organisation is to raise awareness around LGBT issues and to get proper legal protection for LGBT people in the Faroe Islands.

“It is important for us, working for LGBT rights here in the Faroe Islands, to see this great support from our friends in the Nordic region,” said Tina Jacobsen, a board member of Friðarbogin.

“We hope that the presence of politicians from Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland will help our own politicians to see the importance of speaking about human rights,” she added.

During a weekend of festivities, various panels and movie screenings will take place and one of the panels will focus specially on students in higher education.

“In smaller cities like Tórshavn, students in general can be an important force to help fight homophobia, therefore we have invited representatives from student unions in Iceland, Sweden, and Greenland to the festival in order to discuss what they can actually do to be of assistance,” explained Ásta Ósk Hlöðversdóttir, president of ANSO.

The biggest event of the Pride weekend will be a parade, which will start on Saturday afternoon from the Nordic House. Music and speeches will start in the captial Tórshavn’s main square Vaglið, at 15.00.