Our origins - the history of the RFSU
Published 1/17/2010 | Updated 1/25/2010
“I dream of the day
when every newborn child is welcome,
when men and women are equal,
and when sexuality is an expression
of intimacy, joy and tenderness.”
The words are those of Elise Ottesen–Jensen, who started Riksförbundet för Sexuell Upplysning (the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education) – RFSU in 1933. The right to an abortion and contraception, sex education in schools and the decriminalisation of homosexuality were some of the issues that “Ottar” and her colleagues campaigned for. In order to get the money for these controversial activities, they started selling condoms – and that’s still the case today, after more than 75 years. Initially, RFSU ran its campaign for education, justice and change in the face of strong opposition, but gradually the work led to major changes, and even legislative changes.