Tom & Nipa

Touko Laaksonen meets Veli “Nipa” Mäkinen in 1953, who is to become his great love and life partner for 28 years. The Laaksonen family was fond of Nipa and never asked questions about the two mens’ relationship; Nipa was always referred to as Touko’s “room-mate”.

Nipa and Tom

The equal marriage law comes into effect on 1st March 2017 in Finland.

Equality Rules! 26th June 2013 – LA


With Sharp, David Villegas, Dave Alexson, Kersu Dalal, Justin Emerick, Tom Trafelet, Durk Dehner (and Mack) and Esteban Bartholo Iriarte

The Black Cat Tavern was established in 1966. Two months later, on the night of New Year’s 1967, several plain-clothes police officers infiltrated the Black Cat Tavern. After arresting several patrons for kissing as they celebrated the occasion, the undercover police officers began beating several of the patrons and ultimately arrested thirteen patrons and three bartenders. This created a riot in the immediate area that expanded to include the bar across Sanborn Avenue called New Faces where officers knocked down the owner (a woman) and beat two bartenders unconscious.

Several days later, this police action incited a civil demonstration of over 200 attendees to protest the raids. The demonstration was organized by a group called PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education). The protest was met by squadrons of armed policemen. Two of the men arrested for kissing were later convicted under state law and registered as sex offenders. The men appealed, asserting their right of equal protection under the law, but the U.S. Supreme Court did not accept their case.

It was from this event that the publication The Advocate began as a newspaper for PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education). Together the raid on the Black Cat Tavern and later the raid on The Patch in August 1968 inspired the formation of the Metropolitan Community Church.

These events in Los Angeles pre-dated the Stonewall riots by over two years.