TOM OF FINLAND
(Touko Laaksonen, born 1920 Kaarina, died 1991 Helsinki)
The mention of “Tom of Finland” produces smiles; ears at attention. Tom of Finland is what we all want to be: the essence of a man we all want to meet.
Tom of Finland is the uberman, fantastic in all ways. He is the embodiment of all things favorable in life. Tom personifies nature and exemplifies reasonable thought.
Tom of Finland knew his own mission and the purpose of his drawings. As with most Finns, he spoke using few words and was to the point:
With purpose I wanted to influence Gays, to change their opinion of themselves. I also wanted to influence Straight people so they could understand and accept the beauty and rights that Gay people should have.
I wanted to show Gays they can feel happy together. I wanted to tell them they have a right to enjoy life in their way – Gays being together feeling happy, being proud of who they are.
It wasn’t until he was in his 60s that Tom realized how powerfully his messages had been received by the world.
Tom set the proud love of man-by-man in full motion. In 2,000 years, no one has produced such remarkable changes in worldview with such a simple message: Gay = Good.