06:26 GMT +317 October 2019
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    'You're Soldiers, Not Activists': Swedish Army Under Fire on Twitter for Front Page Gay Pride Ad

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    Many Swedes ridiculed a recent full-page gay pride ad published in a major newspaper by the Swedish Armed Forces, suggesting the army's first and foremost task was to defend the nation, not indulge in political activism.

    To signal its long-standing commitment to the LGBT cause, the Swedish Armed Forces have published a full-page pride ad in Svenska Dagbladet, one of Sweden's largest newspapers.

    The ad features a military-style cake cut open to show rainbow-coloured stuffing.

    “For the defence of love. Your right to be who you are, to live as you want with the one you choose – is our job to defend,” the caption to the ad reads.

    ​The ad sparked negative reactions on social media, with users suggesting it was not only beyond the purview of the armed forces but also an utter waste of public funds.

    “How much did today's front page SvD advertisement cost? Do they still intend to advertise in that dimension, for example, to celebrate Sweden's historic victories in sniper world championships, or to help recruit soldiers and officers?” a Twitter user asked.

    ​“How much money did you blow on this campaign? A million kronor? Now explain to us taxpayers how this strengthens the country's defence! The armed forces have no role in police operations! Your task is to defend the country from external invaders,” another comment read.

    ​“Bad news, the defence is no longer engaged in defence, but political propaganda”, another user mused bitterly.

    ​“No, your task is to defend Sweden and the Swedish people, not to disseminate the occupation government's vulgar propaganda,” another user pointed out.

    ​“Your only task is to defend Sweden against external enemies so stop blithering and devote yourself to what you shall do. You are soldiers, not Pride activists,” yet another comment scolded.

    ​“You are lost beyond all reasonable sense and reason. I pray to God we'll never need to be defended by the Swedish Pride Army and their sham soldiers. A sorry sight. Also a supreme commander that looks like a joke from a Disney cartoon”, a user wrote, referencing Swedish Supreme Commander Micael Byden, who is an outspoken LGBT ally and has been taking part in pride parades for several years in a row.

    ​Some even mentioned the perennial “Russian threat” the Swedish top brass themselves often bring up.

    “Are you going to beat the Russians with a handbag?” a user questioned.

    ​Many, however, expressed support for the armed forces' engagement, admitting, in a user's words, it was a “PR-stunt, but a necessary one.”

    The Swedish Armed Forces have been taking part in various Pride events since the 2000s. This year, it has a packed schedule that includes seminars on “Coming out in a macho organisation”, actual pride parades and even “Run for Pride” event, touted as the most colourful running competition of the year.

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    armed forces, LGBT, Scandinavia, Sweden
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