Homoerotic stamps by 'iconic' gay artist set for release in Finland

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

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The Independent Culture

New stamps featuring homoerotic drawings are set to be released this September by the Finnish Postal Service.

Late graphic artist Tom of Finland (real name Touko Laaksonen) will be honoured by Itella Posti Oy’s series for his “iconic status” in gay culture.

One of the most popular native artists in Finland, he created more than 3,500 illustrations in the 20th century.

The vast majority of his work focuses on barely-clothed men with exaggerated sex traits – we’re talking pert buttocks, heavy moustaches, cigerettes, chiselled jaws, uniforms and shirt-ripping muscles.

Itella paid tribute to the “emphatically masculine” slant of his work and the utilization of “self-irony and humour typical of subcultures”.

“The drawings on the stamp sheet represent strong and confident male figures typical of their designer,” a statement on the website read.

Timo Berry, the artist who helped select which images to use for the stamp, credited the “sensual life force” and importance of “being proud of oneself” portrayed by Tom of Finland. “There is never too much of that in this northern country,” he wrote.

Notably, same-sex marriage is currently illegal in Finland, despite a bill being debated in February after 166,000 people called for a change in the law. 

Furthermore, Slate notes that Finnish citizens can only legally change their gender if they are surgically sterilised.