The gay icon Tom of Finland was born Touko Laaksonen in Kaarina, Finland on 8 May 1920.
To mark the centenary of his birth and to celebrate his continued legacy in the LGBTQI+ community and popular culture, The Finnish Institute had planned a week-long festival to take place in London, a city Tom had a passionate love affair with. Incidentally, he even considered changing his name into Tom of London.
Due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus the physical festival has been cancelled. Instead, we celebrate Tom of Finland online. Follow our social media and the hashtag #TOMs100 for all Tom-related materials. To get you in the mood, dive into these interviews:
Curator Olivia Ahmad: “There was a huge hunger to see Tom’ of Finland’s work in the UK”
Fashion expert Shaun Cole: “You find lots of references to Tom of Finland in gay culture”
Antti Kauppinen from Tom of Finland Society: “Vanilla patriarchy has squeezed the edge out of Tom of Finland”
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell: ”Tom of Finland gave us an antidote”