Tom of Finland – My Hero

Nordic Gods
Men of the Forest

 TOM OF FINLAND (Finnish, 1920 – 1991)
Nordic God (From Men of the Forest series), 1969
Graphite on paper, 11.50” x 8.00”
ToFF Permanent Collection #69.11
© 1969 Tom of Finland Foundation

Touko Laaksonen Was Born in the Spring of 1920
and Became Tom of Finland in the Spring of 1957


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.




TOM’s dad

Tom of Finland’s real name is Touko Laaksonen. His father was Edvin Laaksonen and he was born in 1885. When Edvin had finished teacher’s training college, he worked first as a teacher in Hausjärvi, then the town of Kaarina. Besides teaching, he participated in community activities; he was member of the local government council, the election board and the church council. He was also chairman of the Finnish Amateur Musicians Association.

“Edvin Laaksonen was the chairman of the management at the Commune of Kaarina Library from 1920-1939.”

The Public Library management in the 1920s. From the left: V. Viik, A. Laiho, Edv. Laaksonen, H. Heimo, T. Niemi and A. J. Sinisalo

The History of Kaarina County, Part 4
Author: Kerttu Innamaa
Publisher: Kaarina History Committee
Publishing year: 1957