Rufus Gifford, the highly popular and openly gay US ambassador to Denmark, said goodbye in January after three and a half years in Copenhagen.
To most Danes the former US ambassador to Denmark is simply known by his first name, Rufus. During his time in Denmark the ambassador has been the subject of his own reality show, marched in the annual Copenhagen Pride Parade alongside his husband Stephen and attended numerous events and talkshows making more public appearances than any other ambassador ever did, raising the bar for diplomatic visibility.
On January 3 the LGBT organisations from Copenhagen got together to organise a farewell reception for the beloved ambassador at the National Museum in order to properly thank him for the commitment and sincere interest in getting involved with the Danish LGBT+ community. The American Embassy even hosted an official pride reception during Copenhagen Pride Week and Lars Henriksen, chairperson of Copenhagen Pride, gave a very emotional speech at the reception on behalf of all organisations involved.
“You have – in many ways – taken openness to a new level. There have been gay ambassadors in Denmark before, but your willingness to embrace that side of your personal life and use it to the advantage of us all has been extraordinary. And with openness comes availability and also in that field you have shown us new standards to live by from here on”, said Lars Henriksen, who also underlined that the bonds and friendships created between the Danish LGBT community and both Rufus and Stephen are unique and strong enough to withstand the test of time.
“When, in the future, you see a rainbow – please think of us”, he said.
Rufus Gifford is one out of many US ambassadors and diplomats who are replaced as a consequence of the Trump administration moving into place on January 20.
Photo: Wilfred Gachau