Partner Johnny Köhler

Queer Places:
5900 Rudkøbing, Langeland, Denmark

Helmer Fogedgaard (1907 – January 19, 2002) was one of the founders of the Federation of 1948 and he founded the association's first member magazine, Vennen. Axel Axgil wrote this tribute to an old friend and pioneer: The National Association for Gays and Lesbians would also like to take this opportunity to express our sorrow at Helmer Fogedgaard's passing and express a warm thank you for a great effort and commitment throughout life. In 1949 Axgil got in touch with Helmer Fogedgaard, and together they founded the association's first membership magazine Vennen, with Fogedgaard as editor. Axgil was elected as the federation's first chairman at the federation's first general meeting in 1950.

Fogedgaard grew up as the son of a wealthy farmer and local politician in Langeland, an island in the western Baltic. He was apprenticed to a shopkeeper, and was then employed at the Ølandenes Frøkontor A/S in Rudkøbing, Langeland, a company trading in seeds. The company was bought by Fogedgaard and his father arounf 1930, and Fogedgaard was managing director until the company was wound up in 1972.

At the same time that Axel Axgil and his friends in 1948 made plans to found an organization for homosexuals, Fogedgaard planned to launch a magazine. Mutual friends made them aware of each other and the two projects were combined. Vennen (The Friend) was published from January 1949 till early 1952, when a large accumulated deficit made it necessary to form an independent publishing company, partly financed by Fogedgaard.

At first under the pseudonym "Homophilos", later under his own name, Fogedgaard was the editor of Vennen from 1949 to 1953. The concept of "homophile" was introduced in Vennen in May 1950 by Fogedgaad, who was unaware that the word had been coined a few months previously by Jaap van Leeuwen in Holland. The intent of the word was to divert attention from genital sexuality and to underline love between adults of the same sex as a respectable emotion and a legitimate quality.

Fogedgaard was arrested several times, and the police constantly had him in the spotlight based on his often sharp writings in the journal. The friendship with Axel Axgil became lifelong, and the two later wrote together the book 'Gays Fighting Years', which was published in 1985. Fogedgaard's great accomplishment creating the homophile movement only fills up one chapter in his 1977 autobiography "That's How I Am."

Fogedgaard was a bibliophile and an art collector; he had probably the largest collection of Ex libris in the world.

Fogedgaard entered into a registered partnership in 1994, with life-companion since 1955, Johnny Köhler. Köhler died in 2001 and Helmer's last wish in this life was only to walk away from this world in order to be reconciled with his late friend Johnny in the next world. Helmer Fogedgaard died on 19 January 2002 in Rudkøbing on Langeland.

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